CHAPTER SPOTLIGHT: Robin Dudasik, NE Florida
It was the culture and mission to serve others that steered Robin Dudasik to attend Xavier University. Now, she’s continuing that mission in all parts of her life.
Dudasik, 36, graduated in 2003 with an Advertising degree and lives in Neptune Beach, Fla., where she works as the senior vice president for MedMal Direct Insurance Company and serves as the NE Florida chapter president of the Alumni Association.
But most important to her is her newest role as "foster parent."
As a high school senior, she had visited a handful of schools, but the Chicago native said Xavier felt like home. She had no idea, however, how truly instrumental the school would become.
“The Jesuit values were abundant, and while I had attended Catholic school my whole life, I was so enthralled with all the people I encountered who truly served others, for the good of all humanity on campus,” she says. “Everywhere I turned there was a program, project or discussion around serving people.”
Robin was no stranger to philanthropic efforts. She got involved at a young age after she heard media reports about a severely abused child. Shocked by the abuse, she started to ask hard questions to adults, specifically her mom. What would happen to this child now? She learned there were several answers. But it motivated her to begin participating in volunteer projects at school, church or with friends.
But she yearned to do more. Joining the Xavier community fueled the fire. As a freshman, Robin and her new friends signed up to serve at Mt. Zion, where they spent time mentoring underserved children in the community. As a sophomore, she moved into The Villa, a theme house that focused on service.
“Twelve of my best friends and I volunteered weekly with Cincinnati Youth Collaborative,” she says. “From there, I spent six weeks over summer break, in an orphanage with my best friend, Kate McCarthy (Michalak) in La Paz, Bolivia. I was starting to realize I had a lot more to learn and was so inspired to do so. It was around this time that I made the commitment to myself to eventually be a foster parent. I didn’t know how or when, but I made the promise to myself.”
Since graduating, she has been a court-appointed volunteer advocating for foster children, served with Heart for Africa and spent time with Seamark Ranch, a children’s group home. Most recently, she partnered with an organization called HaitiChildren and enjoys visiting, raising funds and awareness with her best friend in Florida.
But the goal to become a foster parent was still very much in her heart. She wanted so badly to commit to the effort but was a little timid. “Can I do this as a single person?” she asked herself. “Do I have the right skills or resources?”
She turned to her dearest friend from Xavier for advice. After many months of discussion, Kate said, “Robin, you’re ready. Go for it.”
She signed up for foster classes in October 2016 and was licensed by December. She assisted other foster parents, and in March 2017, she became a foster mom herself.
“I finally took the leap and went full time and now have a beautiful foster daughter. She amazes me every day with her strength, high-spirited personality, and incredible growth,” she says. “I'm incredibly grateful for this life-changing opportunity. My friends and family have been so supportive and yet again, another Xavier friend, Ginny Crotte, has been an amazing resource!
"Ginny and I were friends at XU and have kept in touch casually over the last 13 years until she learned that I was a new foster parent," she continues. "She immediately reached out and extended her support. This has been a tremendous gift as she is a licensed social worker and is extremely well-versed in working with traumatized youth. I just smile from ear to ear thinking about the incredible community of X.”
The culture and mission of Xavier lives through her and her friends.
“Overall, the encouragement I received at X to serve, coupled with my natural inclination, was just what I needed to keep this passion in the forefront of my life,” she says. “I am continuously supported by XU alumni in these efforts. It’s extraordinary.”
Interested in becoming a foster parent?
Interested in serving as a Xavier Alumni chapter president?