2021 Frassati Award Recipients

Niki Klco

I entered Dominican Volunteers USA on my path towards discernment. I felt a call to
become a religious sister beginning in my junior year of high school. Throughout my
undergraduate years at Aquinas College I contacted a variety of religious orders,
participated in several nun runs, and began the journey that would ultimately play a
large part into reaching DV USA. Throughout my years in school, I learned to love
Dominican spirituality and relish in the freedom of expression the charisms gave me. In
the midst of searching for religious orders and feeling community through the
Dominicans I still waited a few years out of college to take the step into DV USA. The
opportunity came when I was ready and open to receive it.

I went to California first and vividly remember calling my mom back home after a week
or so stating, “I was not sure if a place like this existed, but I found my people.” I knew I
was in the right place and soaked in as much as I could throughout the entire year. I was
welcomed into community and growth at every turn. Redwood City is where I first
learned about what a social worker does and how they are justice oriented. I knew I
wanted another year of DV USA but that I would explore social work further. I choose to
take a leap of faith and head to the Bronx for my next ministry site.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to ministry in another part of the Latinx
community where I was introduced to cultural experiences, life struggles, and spirits
that never faded. In my second year I continued to learn about the privilege I hold and
how I can be an informed ally. I was able to see God in both communities that accepted
me and to continue to learn truth. At one of my opening retreats a sister mentioned
that each person holds a part of the truth and I continue to find that to be true.

I have just graduated with my master’s in pastoral studies and social work from Aquinas
Institute and Saint Louis University, respectively. Every day I call upon and I build upon
what I have learned from Dominican Volunteers. I just finished helping to run a camp for
inner-city kids and I can assure you they taught me more than I will ever be able to give
back. These are the youth schools have discarded but I see a light in each one. I am
thankful to be a small part of their journeys.

Ministry is relationship.