Service Site: La Salle High School, Yakima, WA
College: La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA
What do you do?
I teach Spanish 1 classes, Current World Issue classes, Academic Support and advise seniors.
What is the most challenging obstacle that your students face? How does your school and your own outreach try to empower them to overcome this obstacle?
The most challenging obstacle at this service site is serving the population they intended to serve. We, as a school, try to reach out to the prominent Latino community. The school’s goal is to attract students to ensure that they receive a Catholic education, especially if they can’t afford one. Furthermore, the plan is to make everyone feel welcome and supported. I help in this particular mission through Academic Support. We have a number of students trying to assimilate to the vigor of the curriculum. Among them, there are our newly transferred Latino students. My job is to make sure the struggling students know they have the support and guidance to give them the tools they needs and steer them to realize their full potential. By dedicating my time and energy into this cause, I hope to see these student’s friends come to the school. Word of mouth is a powerful resource.
What has been your biggest disappointment in your volunteer service? How has this affected you?
My biggest disappointment thus far would be the news that the Brothers’ Community will be closing after this year. While I know their presence will be there through other ways of support, I feel a great heartache for the kids, the school, and truthfully myself. The Brothers add a special something to campus that I’ve never seen anywhere but a Lasallian school. I will miss Brother Jack and Brother Anthony immensely. It’s only been three months of living together, but I can’t imagine what next year brings without them.
Give an example of a time when you knew you were making a difference.
In my Current World Issues course with my seniors, I struggled with the task of talking about racism in America and across the globe. Here in Yakima, racism is mostly towards the Native Americans and Latinos. They easily identified and compared Yakima, and America in general, to other country that harbor racist animosities towards the indigenous people of their country. However, racism against African Americans was foreign to them. It’s something they hadn’t seen. As much as I tried to explain, my words couldn’t hold much weight. So, I showed a documentary, Dark Girls. Though it was about colorism and how people of the same race discriminate against one another, my students finally started to see, to feel something that they hadn’t understood. I remember turning on the lights to see tears in every single person’s face, all of them, after a four year old dark-skinned girl told the interviewer that she is ugly and unintelligent because of her skin color. That is when my heart felt that pang. That I made an impact.
What would you say to a friend from home who questioned why you chose to live with the Brothers?
I get this question all the time! I chose to live with Brothers so that I can grow spiritually. They don’t judge. They don’t expect. They teach.
Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?
This will prepare any senior for the professional world they are about to step into. You will learn things about yourself and make adjustments so that when you do get that dream job, you will be fully prepared.
Why would you recommend a contribution to the LV Program from a prospective donor?
Without your support and contribution, this program wouldn’t be possible. The children across the United States in Lasallian schools can thank you for providing them with teachers they couldn’t otherwise afford. As an LV, I wouldn’t be able to serve and make a difference as cliché as it is. I wouldn’t be able to move across the country to Yakima, where I feel I was called, to give these students everything I have to offer.
How would you like to continue your involvement with the Lasallian family after your time with the Lasallian Volunteers?
I, myself, plan to become a donor when I become established to ensure the program’s longevity.