To three of the most loving, admirable, and courageous kids I have met thus far.
Remember when they told me you wouldn’t like
me because you hate women?
Remember when they told me to be cautious because
you always had an attitude?
Remember when they told me you wouldn’t change
because this was your second time opening to Tides?
Then you screamed, “That’s my worker!”, across
the empty high school hallway.
Then you said, “I miss Ivette” to your new
Then you said, “You guys always leave”
But then I told you, “I’ll be back.”
Remember when you told me the truth? And you
asked me if I believe in God and I said yes
And you said, “You better!”
Or when I told you I was going to Chicago but
I was coming back you said, “you better”?
Remember when you told me I couldn’t get rid
of you even if I tried?
Remember when you told me you weren’t mad at
me those months but you were mad at the ankle bracelet that limited you?
I remember taking you to therapeutic sports
and playing basketball with you- forgetting about both of our worries.
I remember knocking at your door and praying
you were home only to find myself standing alone in the rain.
I remember chasing you through Hartford projects.
I remember you yelling at me, “Why are you
even here?! Wasting your time.”
I remember hearing that you were hurting yourself
Remember when I said, “I’m coming back”? I
I did for 9 months.
I remember feeling like I couldn’t give you
what you needed.
I remember feeling selfish because you were
the highlight of my day but you still had to run your life after I left.
I remember you ditching your girlfriend after
school because you wanted to see your worker.
And you saying thank you.
I remember you saying you knew I was a volunteer
and I gained your respect.
I remember your smile after I bought you air
But now my heart feels heavy.
My prayers are full with your names.
Crying out to God that He watches over you
three this summer and promising God I will take care of you when I come back.
I’m sorry this “see you later” seems like a
I’m sorry it still hurts to live.
I’m sorry no one ever understood.
I’m sorry the system failed you.
Did you know you went to school and played
football as a freshman?
Did you know you took your GED and didn’t give up?
Did you know you went from not going to school
at all to going every day?
I’m proud of you.
I know how far you have come and I’ll remind
you as often as I can because you deserve it.
Thank you for challenging me.
Thank you for correcting me.
Thank you for sharing a smile with me.
Thank you for doing your best and having faith
If it weren’t for you, I would’ve given up.
But I’m coming back.
It was nice seeing you.
I’ll see you later.
If you would’ve asked me this past January if I was going to do a second year as a Lasallian Volunteer, I probably couldn’t have given you a solid answer. I guess I always expected things to be straightforward or clear. But this past year proved everything but that. Each day I worked as a caseworker, I had no idea what was going to happen. I was constantly on my toes.
As much as I planned for my work shift, something always shook them. I learned a lot about “the system”. I spent the beginning of my LV journey trying to fight and change the system but instead, I found myself sometimes lost and discouraged. It was not until February of this year when I changed my balance of fighting the system and building up my clients to focusing strictly on my clients. That’s when the real turn happened. Instead of looking like another person who works for the system, I became a friend, a lending hand, an ear, and a shoulder to lean on.
When March came around I knew my work was not done- but I didn’t know what needed to be completed. During our 2016-2017 Lasallian Volunteers Orientation, my search for clarity unveiled itself. During our breakout sessions I learned what Providence meant- to trust in God. Silly me! I spent my entire first year trying to make sense of everything that I was experiencing when I was literally driving through Providence, Rhode Island everyday- day and night and all I needed to do was to trust in God.
Trust that he sent me from Chicago to Providence to do His work. Sometimes we spend our entire time searching for the answer but forget to keep our trust in God. Now, I am a few months into my second year as a Lasallian Volunteer and my faith in God has never been so strong. I began to trust the process. Now, I feel it every day in my heart that I am fulfilling my purpose. Not only has this internal belief changed my once confused heart, but it has begun to radiate in my work. Everyday I remind my students that I care and that I am here for them. I thank God that He gave me this journey because now I know the difference between losing faith to truly believing in God and his process.
So here is my advice to you- trust in God and his process. Sometimes we fight so hard to look for an answer but most of the time, the message is right in front of you or merely a part of the process. Regardless of where you are right now, remember to have providence and watch as it begins to unveil His truth in your own life.
Ivette Quinteros is a second year LV serving at Tides School in West Warwick and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She is a graduate of Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.