In this month’s Lasallian Volunteers “Ministry of the Month,” the District of Eastern North America is featured. The ministry is Part of the Solution (POTS) and the Lasallian Volunteer is Daniel Martinez (Dani). Dani, a first-year LV, is a graduate of La Salle Paterna School in Valencia, Spain.
WHAT IS PART OF THE SOLUTION?
POTS is a “one-stop shop” assisting individuals living in poverty on their journeys from crisis to stability and ultimately self-sufficiency. POTS is dedicated to providing a professional and hospitable
environment where every interaction is based on compassion and respect. POTS’ mosaic of services, big and small, simple and complex, come together in its “one-stop shop” model. Offering a wide array of support under one roof, staff and services work in concert to address diverse and complex needs. When POTS does not directly provide a needed service, staff members link clients with peer organizations to ensure every individual receives the help he or she needs. Anyone who turns to POTS in crisis will leave with help, hope, and a chance at improved stability.
WHAT SERVICE IS DANI DOING AT POTS?
Dani is a case manager. His work involves serving clients from the Bronx who need to gain access to services such as food stamps, rental assistance, transportation assistance, food pantry help, legal help, dental and medical clinics, and many other services that POTS offers.
HOW WAS DANI INTRODUCED TO LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?
Dani’s Lasallian roots run deep. As a native of Spain, he met the De La Salle Christian Brothers early, since his godfather is a Brother. He says, “All my life has been linked to the Lasallian world. My parents have been teachers, my godfather is Brother, I studied at a Lasallian high school and university. During my student life, I have participated in many volunteer opportunities with Lasallians in Spain. After finishing my studies at the university, a Brother told me about Lasallian Volunteers in the United States. And I said, ‘Why not, let’s start a new adventure on the other side of the ocean, with an institution that has all my confidence as La Salle?’ This decision made me very happy.”
HOW DOES DANI TOUCH THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF THOSE ENTRUSTED TO HIS CARE?
Dani spends his days trying to serve as many clients as possible who are placed on a list to gain services that POTS offers. He works with them to understand their individual needs, gains their trust, and helps them to improve their lives. He says, “According to my experience in POTS, the most important thing is to listen and empathize with clients. We see many clients every day. These clients are people who need to be heard and helped. That is why it is very important that they find in you a support, a person of trust and in whom they can trust their goals and aspirations, without renouncing their effort and work.”
HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE DE LA SALLE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS IMPACTED DANI?
Like many of our volunteers, Dani attended a Lasallian university. His experience of living in community here in the United States has been very positive. Dani says, “Life in community is really good. Previously I had shared an apartment with other people, but never in the community format. The Brothers are always open to speaking, helping, advising, guiding in prayers. The word that best defines community life is sharing. And that’s what I like most, especially in my case that I’m far away from my family.”
WHAT DOES DANI WANT TO SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS ABOUT LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS? Dani has had a great year at POTS and in community. He says, “It is a wonderful experience in which you will learn many things. Work, passion, effort, living together, faith. An experience that opens your mind and changes your eyes and perspective, and that I am sure will change you forever, as in my case.”