November 2015: Molly Nocera

Molly taking students to a pumpkin patch

Molly taking students to a pumpkin patch

Ministry: Catalyst Maria Charter School, Chicago, IL

College: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

What do you do?

I serve as an Instructional Assistant for 1st and 2nd grade, and I help out with the After School Program.

Have you noticed any signs of success in your work? 

I recently started doing reading and phonic interventions with elementary scholars. I was paired with a student who had just transferred to Catalyst Maria. We would sit down and work on CVC words three times a week. This scholar struggled with blending his letters together to form a word. He often became discouraged after constant trial and error. This would ultimately challenge his confidence, leading him to shut down during our sessions.

New to interventions, I decided to ask around for different methods. A teacher advised me to break the word down on my arm. The next time we worked together I tried it out. The word was “cat.” Together we broke the word down and blended it down our arms. “CA-CA…AH-AH…TAH-TAH… CA..AH..TAH …CA-AH-TAH.” We tried this breakdown multiple times. Then, without a beat, I could see a breakthrough in his eyes as he shouted out, “… GOAT.” Now I know you’re thinking that’s pretty far off from the word “cat.” However, for the first time working together that scholar was confident. I’d say success doesn’t get better than that. It’s the small victories that lead us to the great ones. Since his recent growth of confidence he has aced the word “cat” and many other CVC words.

Which LV core values are most important to you? 

What essentially lured me into this program was community. A large portion of my education was served at Lasallian institutions. Both places (high school and college) stressed the importance of your community. There is something powerful about having individuals link up in supporting the mission of De La Salle.

Molly (front) with Chicago and Wisconsin area LVs

Molly (front) with Chicago and Wisconsin area LVs

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?

Time hopping ahead I know I will be reflecting about how much I grew during this year as a Lasallian Volunteer. In just a few short months I have been graced with powerful experiences and interactions. I realized early on that I had to keep up with an open-mind and be willing to adapt. Working in a classroom setting means your constantly ready for impromptu situations.

I also used this year to focus on personal reflection. “How am I growing in faith, community, and service?” “Am I challenging myself and my students” And one of the most important questions I ask myself, “where am I struggling?” I had to realize that there were days where I would struggle, but ultimately that was okay! It was these situations that allowed me to grow the most. Plus, one of the greatest perks of being a Lasallian Volunteer is your recourses. I could ask for help from my community, service, Brothers, the main office, other volunteers, or my assigned mentors. This is a community that definitely has your back!

Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?

If you’re a college senior considering volunteering, this is the ultimate post grad option. You spend a year embracing a new neighborhood, living in community, diving into service, and partying with the Brothers as they bestow their wisdom. What’s better than that?

And although the program is education based, it is certainly not limited to education majors. I graduated as a theatre major and was unsure of how I would fulfill a role in the program. TheLV Staff works with you in discovering your strengths, weaknesses, talents, etc. This allows them to properly place you where you can thrive. Working in the classroom I can see my major come into play every day.

I strongly encourage those seeking their vocation post-graduation to consider Lasallian Volunteers!



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