Service Site: Operation Breakthrough, Kansas City, MO
University: Truman State University
What do you do?
I am the Education & Employment Advocate at Operation Breakthrough. Operation Breakthrough (OB) provides child care and other social services to low-income families in the Kansas City area. I am in charge of the Parent Resource Room; helping parents look for jobs, working on resumes and applications, and providing resources to help them further their education. I also handle large and small donations and coordinate donation pickups for OB on a daily basis. I get to work closely with the family advocates, providing emergency services through our food pantry, birthday closet, and clothing closet. Working at OB is never dull and always changing!
Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer? Have your hopes about the Program been realized?
I learned about the Lasallian Volunteers during a mission trip my senior year of high school. I remember thinking, “that sounds like a pretty cool thing to do!” So, my senior year of college rolled around and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to grad school and I couldn’t find any jobs I was really passionate about – basically the LV program seemed perfect for what I was looking to do. I wanted to do something that would give me experience in a field I was interested in, that helped others, and that was part of a really solid program. I applied, got in, and decided to take the opportunity! My hopes about the program have been realized above and beyond my expectations. I love my job, I love the people I am with, and I love being a part of the greater LV community. It’s only been a few months but I have already grown and gained so much experience – I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity right out of college.
Which of the core values (Faith, Community, Service) are most important to you?
All three of the values are intertwined, but one that I have truly come to appreciate is community. Whether it’s the community I live in with the Brothers and Steve, the community I have developed at work in Kansas City, or the larger LV community, I am always receiving some type of love or support from those around me. There always seems to be something going on within the community as well. Between going to Royals baseball games, Chiefs football games, going to some one’s house for dinner, having different guests visit, or going to one of the many activities at O’Hara we’ve always got some plans with community. Community is SO much bigger than the things I mentioned above and I believe I am only now beginning to realize how truly great and wonderful it is and can be.
Give an example of when your hard work in the community or with your students/clients paid off.
One day, a family advocate asked me to come to her office to work one-on-one with a client. She needed help with her resume and then finding and applying for jobs. We spent about an hour or more working on her resume and by the end of it, I could tell she was really proud of it. Then, we started on applications. We had finished two or three different applications when she got a phone call for an interview. The very first job she had applied for, called her back within the hour! She was so excited and it was so rewarding to see the work we had done together payoff.
Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?
I would highly recommend this program to any college senior. Becoming a LV gives anyone wanting to volunteer an amazing experience. Already, I have met people from all kinds of backgrounds, of all ages, with all kinds of stories and experiences to share. I have made invaluable friendships. I have a solid community to lean on. I have amazing mentors in every aspect of my life; professionally and personally. Since orientation, I have realized how amazing the LV community is. There are so many different personalities but we are all in it for very similar reasons – to serve others. My mom said she learned more in her one year of service than she did anywhere else, and already I can tell the LV program has done the same for those that served before and it is doing the same for me as well.