Katie Delaney: And it feels like…

Katie Delaney, 12-13, John XXIII Educational Center, Racine, WI

Did that just happen? Being home after ten days of Orientation for the Lasallian Volunteer (LV) Program in Romeoville, IL feels so… weird- almost surreal. I have to keep reminding myself that yes, indeed, the whirlwind of the past two months and especially those ten days of Orientation did just happen. I have a new job, new community, and new philosophy, and it all starts in a new state in three days. I feel like so much has changed both within and around me already since my first introduction to the LV tradition, that I can’t imagine the changes that will take place over the next year.

Celebrating the Olympics, LV style!

Orientation was and was not I was expecting. I expected and was excited for the busy schedule, feeling like a student again, and being a part of a team atmosphere. I expected that I would learn more about a rich Lasallian tradition that I had no idea existed, but am throwing myself into at what feels like 100 miles a minute. I expected to feel fulfilled about having a job to do. I was very excited to see all of these expectations become reality.

I did not expect that Orientation would push me and challenge me to face things I haven’t wanted to- aspects of myself which I have been struggling to accept and deal with over the past few years. I did not expect to cry while leaving people I had only known for ten days, people I felt comfortable being completely myself with after only a few hours together. I did not expect that with job training, I would also discover a new sense of identity. I did not expect that my world would be rocked.

Chicago adventures!

All of this contributed to my biggest realization after Orientation: serving as an LV is SO much more than a job. This is a family, a way of life, a culture, a faith, a network, an opportunity to give back and give more of myself than I ever have before. I can’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world- I have a new support system made up of 41 LVs, five staff members, and hundreds of Lasallian Brothers and LV alumni, all in my corner- all there to help, challenge, and invest in me, and all rooting for me to succeed. I have a year to make a tangible impact on and difference in the world every single day by touching the minds and hearts of my students. I have a physical goal to work towards with the LV’s RUN Marathon in November. I have a way to grow in my faith more than I ever have, as part of a community that fosters that growth on a daily basis. I have the opportunity to become the person whom in my heart, I’ve always been, but haven’t fully accepted or shared with the world up to this point.

Shanae, my fellow Racine LV, getting ready for plenty of hugs!

I have never felt so blessed. In a time when I felt more loss, doubt, fear, and insecurity than ever, God gave me hope, faith, strength, and confidence. And hugs. A minimum of one a day, to be exact 😀 The love, support, and inspiration I have entered into- the most amazing, AMAZING people I have the chance to form relationships with- I am just so happy. I know my life has just become so much bigger than I could have ever imagined it.
And it feels like… heaven.

Katie Delaney, 12-13, John XXIII Educational Center, Racine, WI

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