Kelly Dvorak: Passion for people, community, and most of all, Jesus

Posted: January 25, 2010

By Amy Robertson

"I'm in exactly the right place for right now."

Kelly Bernardin-Dvorak (Seminary '12) is talking about her family's decision to live in the "intentional community" of Flatlanders Inn, located in the inner-city of Winnipeg. Kelly, her husband, and their two kids (12 and 14) live communally at the Inn, which provides transitional housing to people who are looking for more stability in their lives. They share life with some people who, Kelly says, have heart-breakingly tragic stories. Kelly and her family listen, learn, build relationships, and serve the community however they can.

Kelly Dvorak and family.

Kelly is also talking about her decision to work on an M.A. in Counselling at Briercrest College and Seminary.

One of the program's foundations, she says, is narrative therapy, which has proved invaluable as she interacts with people at Flatlanders—simply listening to people's stories and helping them understand how their stories have shaped their lives has wonderful healing power.

"[The program] has really opened my eyes to viewing people's stories and journeys as beautifully unique and powerful," says Kelly. I have begun to see that we all believe certain stories about ourselves that come to overshadow other stories. ... I love the idea of helping to 'free' the marginalized stories in people's lives—the good, positive, significant stories that haven't gotten any attention because people can get so hung up on seeing themselves in certain ways. ... I think all of this connects to the biblical concept of having eyes that see."

Most of all, I'm passionate about Jesus.
"I'm becoming more and more passionate about proximity to the poor, because I have so much to learn and they have so much to teach," she continues. "I'm passionate about community, because we're made for it—and we tend to resist it. I'm passionate about learning and recognizing the ways that power is abused in our society, and not contributing to that. I'm also passionate about leadership. Over and over I've observed how much of a difference excellence in leadership makes."

For Kelly, it all comes back to one important concept:

"Most of all, I'm passionate about Jesus."