I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan by parents and a family that I love tremendously. It was cold and snowing on December 14, 1976 when I arrived in the world at St. Mary’s hospital.

I am the third of five children born to Robert and Barbara Dodde. Jennifer, Rob, Meridith and LeeAnn are my siblings and each of them are unique and special in their own way, helping to shape me into the person I am today.

I went to Byron Center Public Schools through 8th grade, enjoying my friends and especially my Girl Scout troop activities
I attended Catholic Central High School where I continued to love school (most days) and building new friendships. I particularly liked being a part of Junior Achievement and continuing my connections with Girl Scouts. Eventually I earned my Girl Scout Gold Award, and spent several weeks on Mackinac Island with the Mackinac Island Honor Scouts.
After high school, I went to college at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame,Indiana. It is there that I met some of my life-long friends and experienced some of my favorite memories. I loved participating in Notre Dame football game weekends and decided to study business as my major, mainly because of my Junior Achievement experiences. I narrowed it down to studying both Marketing and Economics and graduated in 1999 with a double major in both. I became close friends with many of my classmates, but thirteen of them became closer than others, and we affectionately named ourselves the DFG’s: Damn Fun Girls. I have enjoyed their friendships and still love getting together with each of them.
During my summer vacations, I also had an opportunity that I loved, working on Mackinac Island, MI. For two summers, I was the Scout Coordinator, working for the Scout Service Camp that I had been a part of during high school. For the third summer I was an Historic House Interpretor, or as we affectionately termed ourselves, a craftie. I shared with visitors the Great Lakes history of the 1830’s and 1880’s. It was a wonderful experience of learning history and sharing it with others, of learning crafts and continuing to love doing them in my current life. I learned to knit, quilt, and even cook over an open fire in the Biddle House. I will always enjoy going back to that special place in time and space.
Following college graduation, I experienced the single most formative time of my life. After some soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I would volunteer after graduation, and that I would do that at Nazareth Farm, a small social service organization in Doddridge County, West Virginia. It was there on a small rural property that I met friends from all over the country. Over 1,ooo volunteers came through “The Farm” while I was on staff, from high school students, college volunteers, to adult campus ministers and families. I learned home repair projects and then taught them to the volunteers who visited for a week at a time. I came closer to God than I have ever experienced in my life, and enjoyed sharing my faith life with the other staff members. I lived in community with about a dozen of the best people this world has to offer over time. The relationships I had at Nazareth Farm will stay with me for as long as I live. The Farm’s cornerstones of Service, Prayer, Simplicity and Community will be cornerstones for my own life and the life of my family.
Following Nazareth Farm I had the opportunity to live with another former staff member, Lish and join the parish staff at St. Mary’s in Sycamore, IL as the youth minister. I enjoyed building my friendship with Lish and working with the teens at the parish in developing their faith lives.

Dating Peter over the last year and some has brought new life into my world and has exposed me to many different opportunities. I spent some time focusing on my health, joined Weight Watchersand lost about 5o pounds. I have loved going to Chinatown with Peter and sharing that experience with friends. I continue to enjoy being “crafty”, occasionally working on quilts or knitting socks and prefer to make my birthday cards and greetings rather than buy them. I am looking forward to what the future holds for both of us …

Ultimately, I ended up in Chicago after finding the job of my dreams. I am currently the Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator for Dominican Volunteers USA My office is at Dominican University in River Forest, IL, but I have the opportunity to travel to college campuses and parishes across the country to talk with possible candidates for becoming volunteers. I enjoy my work, and enjoy that it brought me to the city where I have found the man I will share the rest of my life with.