Service Site: De La Salle at Blessed Sacrament, Memphis, TN
College: La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA
What do you do?
Breakfast Duty, teach 4th grade Writing, Social Studies, Science, Religion, Co-teach 5th grade Reading and help run the Afterschool program.
Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer?
My reason for wanting to be a Lasallian Volunteer is rooted from my junior year in high school theology class. Each week we received a Maryknoll magazine, in each of the magazines it highlighted a work of a Maryknoll sister or lay missionary. This was the first time I read about lay missionaries and the work that they do. I always kept it in the back of my mind something that I would want to do. I then continued on to La Salle University, where I received a degree in Elementary/Special Education. After graduating from college, I wanted to be a teacher but I still wanted to do “service with others instead of for others.” As a Lasallian Volunteer, I am able to be a teacher, but I am also able to wear different hats be more involved in my students lives. For example, I co-teach 4th grade but I also am involved in the breakfast/before school program and the afterschool program. I am able to learn more about the 4th graders and other students in the school being involved with these types of programs.
What is the most important “thing,” do you think, that your students need from you?
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-1
The most important “thing” that my students need from me is being there for them. It could be an ear to listen to their issues/ideas or to just hear about the things happening in their lives. A shoulder to lean or cry on when things are tough and might not be going their way, it could be pushing students to not settle and reach their highest potential in academics, or any aspect of their life. Helping them dream and giving them the tools to reach their dreams. Being ‘there” could be as simple smiling and saying “good morning, how is your day?”
Was there a moment where you felt accepted by your students?
The first time I felt truly accepted by my students is one day last year after a student stayed after school. The student lived in the neighborhood where our school is so I walked the student home. The student then asked me if I wanted to meet their parents. It meant a lot to me to have a student welcoming me into their home. Another time in which I felt accepted by a student was this year we were making relief maps in social studies out of flour, water, and salt. A student told me it was very similar to a dish in which her family makes called Mandaz, which is an African donut. The next day the student brought me in one of these donuts for me to try.
Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?
“Lasallian heritage is rooted in a spirituality of justice and love, expressed through our respect for each person as a fellow traveler who is a member of the Church learning. It is a heritage manifested by undramatic virtues like listening, understanding, and sheer human decency. Its application includes self-examination on how well we practice what we preach about tolerance and social justice. Living in the Lasallian tradition of association entails affirmation of the other person’s sense of self-esteem based on compassion and forgiveness.” Brother Emery Mollenhauer, F.S.C.
Why would you recommend a contribution to the LV Program from a prospective donor?
I would recommend a contribution to the LV program to a prospective donor, because this program is one in which the gift keeps on giving. The LVs are teaching, mentoring, coaching the future leaders of the world to be successful in all aspects of their lives through the Lasallian tradition. By giving the tools the LVs need to help jump start our future generation of leaders, you are already making our society a better one to live in.
How would you like to continue your involvement with the Lasallian family after your time with the Lasallian Volunteers?
The major way in which I will continue with the my involvement with the Lasallian Family would be to live out Brother Agathon’s Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher: Prudence, Wisdom, Patience, Reserve, Gravity, Silence, Vigilance, Gentleness, Piety, Zeal and Generosity. In addition I would like to be a future mentor to LVs in the area that I will be living in. Finally take an active role in the future LV runs.