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Karen Yavorsky

Job Title:

Religious Studies Teacher & Friends Project Coordinator


Religious Studies


Phone: (510) 577-9100



Started at O'Dowd:



Masters of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University; B.S. in Psychology from UC Davis

Originally from:

San Francisco

Why I Teach:

Catholic Experience allows students to engage and understand the source of our school's mission while exploring their spirituality and beliefs. At the heart of the Catholic Christian faith is a God who loves us, desires a relationship with us, and calls each of us to service, justice and love.

Most powerful teaching technique:

In the classroom, Design Thinking is a creative design process which equips students to be problem solvers and innovators in our rapidly changing world. Outside the classroom, retreats can be an amazing and powerful experience for students. Being away in nature with time to have fun, reflect, share, and connect with God, self, and each other allows students a deeper of experience that can be transformative.

Why are the subjects you teach important?:

Favorite quotes:

If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. - Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s Live simply so that others may simply live. -Mahatma Gandhi

Favorite trivia:

More is unknown than is known... It turns out that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the universe. Source:

Recommended visual media:

"Pray the Devil Back to Hell" chronicles the remarkable story of the Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country. "Chosen" is a beautiful and moving portrayal of Jesus's ministry that creatively fills in gaps in the gospel narrative in surprising and effective ways.

Recommended reads:

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Greg Boyle - powerful storytelling and inclusive spirituality by a Jesuit priest who developed Homeboy INC, a gang intervention program in East LA. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalists, who argue that the oppression of women worldwide is "the paramount moral challenge" of the present era and when given opportunity women can benefit their community.

Hobbies or outside interests:

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