Finn McLeod is the second Eagle Scout from Troop 32 in Arlington Heights to work for Viator House of Hospitality and its 18-year-old asylum seekers for his project. The junior at Saint Viator High School learned about the Viatorian ministry from his grandfather, Dick Johnston, who volunteers there as a math tutor.

Finn McLeod, left, with fellow Eagles Alex Gasey, center, and his twin brother, P.J. McLeod, right

Essentially, Finn says he wanted to help these young men, who are just a little older than he and his twin brother, P.J., but worlds apart. Knowing that they often arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs, he collected personal hygiene items, including bedding, socks, laundry baskets, water bottles, English language dictionaries and gift cards to assemble into welcome baskets.

He also included handwritten cards in each basket that he wrote, along with family, friends and students at St. James School, where he attended.

Viator House of Hospitality has provided a home for more than 95 young men from 21 nations, since its inception in 2017. Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, serves as executive director. He started the ministry with Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, who serves as director of programs and housing.

Last year, Skye Sonnabend, also a member of Troop 32, led volunteers in building raised garden beds outside Viator House of Hospitality for her Eagle Scout project.

Finn with Michael Yemane, house coordinator at VHH, with welcome baskets

In all, Viator House has drawn more than 70 active volunteers, but Fr. Corey wants to extend that base to include young people. In recent months, he described Viator House to members of the Saint Viator softball team and to students at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan.

“Our goal is to to educate the larger Saint Viator community about VHH,” Fr. Corey said, “as well as the asylum system and how people can respond as young Catholics.”