The Cardinal Club of Detroit recently welcomed Father Don Vettese to speak to the group about the important mission of his nonprofit organization, International Samaritan.
Father Vettese spoke to the group about why International Samaritan chose to focus its charity efforts abroad, saying, “We are fortunate in the U.S. to have programs to help people make it through tough times. Shelters offer safety from the elements and warm meals. In developing countries, there are no such things.” He also touched on the significance of taking young people on the mission trips. “Students that participate in service-learning immersion experiences most often come back changed people: more aware of global poverty, compassionate toward others, and eager to help. Several of our recent volunteers have claimed their experience ‘greatly influenced’ their decision to become Jesuit novices and continue a life of service.”
A Detroit native, Father Vettese feels a strong connection to the city. He attended Visitation High School, (a Detroit Catholic High School), has a graduate degree from University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, and taught at University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy before founding Ann Arbor-based International Samaritan.
Father Vettese has been a member of the Jesuit Order since 1977 and is a Special Consultant to the United Nations Committee on Economics and Poverty. In his former years, he was President and Trustee of St. Johns Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, and Trustee, Co-founder/Former President of Boys Hope/ Girls Hope, St. Louis, MO.
A longtime activist for the poor and disadvantaged, Father Vettese is serving on numerous charitable and nonprofit boards both nationally and internationally. He was a nominated CNN Hero, a recipient of many honors including the United State’s Jefferson Award for Public Service, Guatemala’s Distinguished Humanitarian Award, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, and commended by President George and Barbara Bush for outstanding public service.