Before starting at their respective ministries, this year’s cohort of 35 Lasallian Volunteers (LVs) gathered for the Brother Charles Kitson Institute for Formation of Lasallian Volunteers (Kitson) July 19-27 at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.
The 20 first-year and the 15 returning LVs attended daily presentations and workshops, which were both practical and reflective. LVs learned about Brother Charles Kitson, FSC, the Lasallian charism, the importance of professionalism, trauma-informed care, understanding cultural diversity and had a day to retreat.
Two days featured intense sessions where LVs learned best practices for classroom management, mentoring, creating a culture of service in their ministries, engaging with parents and families, working with their supervisors, and team teaching, in addition to how to work well with both middle school and high school-aged learners, among other subjects.
Community building events took place as well, including a ropes course, daily group prayer and various socials.
Alexis Bustamante, a first-year LV serving at Maria Kaupas Center in Chicago, Illinois, shared, “Kitson was definitely an insightful week with the chance to meet more people that are connected to the Lasallian community and how this work has made a lifelong impact on themselves and others.”
During the course of the week, 10 Christian Brothers and 11 alumni were on site to accompany or present to the group, and five of the program’s current site directors gave presentations on a variety of topics.
Second-year LV Davina Runkaputi, who serves at La Salle Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said of her experience, “I’ll be taking back everything I learned from the sessions to use both in the classroom and after school. I am also going to work on being more intentional in both ministry and community. I hope that the new volunteers learned that they have someone they can lean on and talk to both personally and professionally. What I learned from them is that they have a lot of new knowledge and experiences they’re bringing into the program that I don’t know or have and that I can ask them for advice or their thoughts on things that ever come up in my ministry or community.”
The official 2019-2020 kickoff event was held after the commissioning ceremony with a blessing given by Brother Edward Phelan, FSC, one of the Brothers who founded the LV program, and a toast given by Margaret Naughton, then-acting director.
This year’s LVs will serve at 18 ministries, 13 of which are Lasallian, as teachers, tutors, mentors, social workers and more. The LVs will provide both service and the Lasallian presence across the United States in ministries in Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.
Since the LV program began 30 years ago, more than 750 young men and women have volunteered in this program of faith, service and community.