BY KARLI O’BRIEN, GR. 7

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy

When someone says the words leadership and service the first person most members of the ROCK’s mind goes to is Ms. Kathleen Woods. Ms. Kathleen Woods grew up in Rockaway Beach, NY and was a part of a family of six. She went to St. Francis de Sales School and then continued to Fairfield University. She is a woman of love, compassion, patience, loyalty, and so much more. Ms. Kathleen Woods is the leader of Rockaway Beach’s R.O.C.K. (Reaching Others Creating Kindness) Youth Program. The R.O.C.K program is a youth organization of service, prayer, and leadership. Ms. Kathleen Woods does a wonderful job of organizing service projects, activities, and gatherings throughout the week. She often organizes a prayer and discussion where members discuss a topic and pray for certain people. Ms. Kathleen Woods is the ideal role model for all of the R.O.C.K members. She never fails to comfort someone when they are in need or be an aide for someone who is struggling.  

Before directing the R.O.C.K, Kathleen’s profession didn’t feel right. She says, “I was praying, asking, where my next step would be.” Sooner than later, she bumped into a friend who was looking for someone to lead this group. She used the R.O.C.K as an opportunity to start over. “I think in our society today, we are lacking role models and positive influences. I’ve always had a passion for helping others and leading people closer to Christ. I decided to lead the ROCK group because it is essential for our youth to develop faith, especially in today’s society. I also want to have a positive impact on at least one person’s life,” Kathleen expresses.   

Ms. Kathleen Woods shows a perfect role of leadership not only while organizing activities for the youth group but also just around Belle Harbor. She is a Eucharistic Minister at St. Francis de Sales Church and often volunteers at various events such as CCD at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy and visiting the sisters of Stella Maris. She leads by teaching the youth members to forgive, love, and care for one another. “I love every single kid and see growth in all of them,” she says.  

Ms. Kathleen Woods is also a great young lady of service. She often organizes Midnight Runs, where the members of the youth group gather clothes, food, toiletries, and coffee to give out to the homeless of New York City, visits to the sisters of Stella Maris, and many more. Woods says when asked what calls her to do service, “I think service allows people to live their faith through action. Each one of us is called to serve others. Service allows us to see Christ in the faces of others. I also think that service teaches us how to be humble and puts life into perspective.”  

Thanks to Ms. Kathleen Woods, the members of the ROCK group have grown to love and follow the words of Jesus Christ with more value.  She truly shows the members the way to lead and serve others all of the time. From get togethers after Sunday mass to prayer and discussion sessions, all of the ROCK participants love and appreciate all of Ms. Kathleen Wood’s hard work and dedication.  

Kathleen Woods for Tablet Jr.