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We'll miss Melissa and her clarinet...

posted Aug 26, 2013, 9:20 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Aug 26, 2013, 9:21 AM ]
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Melissa Elie grew up in Oak Park, IL, the Village that contains the world's largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residential properties. She graduated from Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences (which has a world-renowned Conservatory of Music), majoring in Comparative American Studies with a minor in Environmental Studies.

She came to Brooklyn to teach environmental lesson plans at Providence House. Established by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Providence House works to end the cycle of homelessness, abuse and incarceration by creating long-lasting change in the lives of women and families it serves. Melissa designed and implemented a garden which the children helped create at the child care location, transitioned the house to environmentally friendly/green cleaning products, and cooked with the residents to promote healthy eating.

Though Providence House isn't located within our parish, Melissa visited our church, and liked it so much she joined our choir and began playing clarinet at many of our Masses. She says “It's common to enter a new church and encounter friendly and welcoming people, but it's rare for those people to interact with you as if you already know each other. Since day one the atmosphere at Immaculate Heart of Mary has been more than warm and welcoming. I was not a stranger, but rather a friend coming back from a long trip. And for someone who is sort of re-discovering her faith, being a part of this community is more than I could have asked for.”

Next, she hopes to work for the Peace Corps in South America. After that, she plans to attend graduate school, and then live in Latin America or the Caribbean as an environmental justice advocate. To wish her well in her adventures, contact her at melissa.elie@gmail.com.