College: Saint Mary’s College of California
What do you do?
I teach Language Arts, Technology, Art, and 6th grade Religion. I also monitor morning and lunch recess. I am also the school’s Service Club coordinator. This year, I was named De La Salle’s Lasallian Animator. I am responsible for bringing the Lasallian charism to our students, faculty, staff, and families.
Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer? Have your hopes about the Program been realized?
When I was freshman at St. Mary’s College of California, I was invited to an informal dinner with the Lasallian Volunteer Recruiter. It was sponsored by Campus Ministry. From the casual conversation and information shared about the program I was hooked. After that, I knew that after I graduated from SMC I would apply to the program and move somewhere in the country to give back. This however was not the case. After undergraduate school, I immediately started my graduate work in education and working on a teaching credential. Upon my completion, I knew that something was missing.
Many of my friends who were graduating in 2011 were entering the LV program and I remembered how much I wanted to do that. However, I thought my opportunity had passed considering I had already attended graduate school. One of my good friends, who was going to be a first year Lasallian Volunteer, convinced me that I should at least try and apply, the worst they could say was no. So, I applied and two weeks before orientation was accepted.I have not looked back since. This is now my second year as an LV and I am loving where I am living and working. I am not in a community with Brothers, but I still feel connected to them through our gatherings throughout the year. Each day I am here, my hopes of “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve” are met and exceeded. Being able to help young people reach their academic goals every day is why I wanted to be a Lasallian Volunteer.
What is the most important “thing” you think your students need from you? What do you do to try to provide this?
The most important “thing” my students need from me is constant support. Many of our students come to us several grades below where they should be academically. As their teacher, it is my responsibility to help these students reach their full potential. The only way to achieve this, is to make sure that I am here for them whenever they need my help. I am someone that they know they will see everyday to teach them or someone they need to talk to. My students know that I am here for them when they see me in the morning covering recess duiy, teaching in the classroom, sitting with them during lunch, at my desk, or simply asking them how they are doing at any point during the day. That constant personal check-in lets them know that I am here for them, not for me, or just something to be doing.
If you could project ahead a few years and look back to now, how do you think your experiences with those you serve and with the Brothers will have changed you?
Those that I serve will have helped me become more patient and understanding of others. It is a very different group of people and culture that I have worked with before. They will have changed my view on what it really means to live simply. My coworkers will have helped me become a better educator through their support and willingness to share their own experiences.
The Brothers will have helped me become a more spiritual person. These men have a strong faith and share that every day in their work and faith in St. John Baptist De La Salle. Their example of educating the whole person has led me on my path to become a better teacher and person. I have learned so much from being able to share some of my most exciting and most challenging moments over the years and will forever be grateful to them.