May: San Miguel School, Chicago

Our May Ministry of the Month highlights San Miguel School in Chicago, Illinois, which is located within the Midwest District. Sheyenne Bauer is a second-year LV and a graduate of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMUMN.)  Daniel Walton is a first-year LV and a graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, California, and Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, California.

What is San Miguel School?

San Miguel School was founded by two De La Salle Christian Brothers and two lay Catholics to serve middle school students who are at-risk academically, economically disadvantaged, and who lack access to excellent academic resources tailored to their needs.

As a Lasallian school, San Miguel School offers a “human and Christian education” to the economically disadvantaged and marginalized. Over the years, Lasallian schools have been innovative and excellent academic institutions, which provide students with the skills they need to be successful and the moral compass they need to make good decisions.

San Miguel School has grown to serve 90 middle school students. It provides a graduate support program, which follows students through high school, post-secondary education and career; a family support program, which offers adult education classes and workshops; and a community center, which offers programs for children and families in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago.

How did Sheyenne and Daniel learn about Lasallian Volunteers?

Sheyenne learned about Lasallian Volunteers as a student at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She shared, “I first heard about Lasallian Volunteers in an education class at SMUMN. I was only a sophomore, but I put the idea into the back of my mind as something I would potentially be interested in in the future. When I was a senior, I had a close friend of mine from SMUMN join the LV program. She told me about her experience and encouraged me to apply myself.” Daniel learned about Lasallian Volunteers as a student at Saint Mary’s College of California. He shared, “I learned about Lasallian Volunteers through the Living Learning community. The staff support member, Tidiany Diarra, LV 15-17, was an LV scholar and my mentor while living in community and invited me to consider applying to serve as an LV.”

What are the services Daniel and Sheyenne provide at San Miguel School?

Daniel teaches writing and literature and coaches. He shared, “I check in with different students to make sure they are doing well and give them a chance to address their concerns. I also have all the unspoken duties that come along with that. The students I work with need more than just a teacher though. I try my best to connect with the students and provide a safe place for them to express themselves.” San Miguel Chicago works as a team to help provide students with the services they need. Sheyenne teaches social studies for sixth, seventh and eighth grade. She also coached volleyball in the fall and moderated the entrepreneurship club.

Which of our core values of Lasallian Volunteers is most important to Sheyenne and Daniel?

“All of these values are special to me,” Sheyenne shared, “but I think the one that is most important to me is service. Coming out of college I had the mindset that my education degree wasn’t for me, but rather for the students that would be entrusted to my care. Service has always played a big role in my life and I am thankful I got to spend two years post grad serving in schools. The students make me smile daily, and I am so glad I get the opportunity to be their teacher.” Daniel shared, “Faith and service are most important to me. I have found that the world is intense and overwhelming at times, but through faith we connect with one another and through service we show our care for others. I have faith that the Almighty will provide for my students, and I have faith in my students that they will work to receive the care and education they need to grow.”

What is the most important thing the students Daniel and Sheyenne work with need from them?

Daniel responded, “My students mostly need someone who is willing to care for them and believe in them. Many of our students are below grade level in multiple subjects and sometimes they have behavior management issues. Many of them have expressed that they felt like a teacher ‘gave up’ on them, which I believe is preventing them from reaching their full potential. My goal is to provide them with a positive and encouraging educational setting to help them intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.” Sheyenne echoed Daniel saying, “The most important thing my students need from me is love and compassion. They need someone who believes in them and helps them be successful. I do this by meeting them where they are and by supporting them academically and socio-emotionally.”

How has living alongside the De La Salle Christian Brothers changed Sheyenne and Daniel?

Sheyenne spent her first year as an LV in Memphis, Tennessee. In reflecting on this question, she shared, “I have had the opportunity to be part of two different Brothers’ communities. I have learned so much from their wisdom and hearing about their life experiences. They have always been there to support me. One of my favorite memories was when one of the Brothers I lived with came with me on a field trip to a forest. I got to introduce him to my students, and he got to be a mini tour guide for the day.” Daniel shared, “It has been a great experience living with a De La Salle Christian Brother. Brother Mark Snodgrass is insightful and his care for others is seen in the community as well as where he serves. His witty anecdotes are pretty great and his dedication to the community and San Miguel encourages me to serve and challenges me to look at the bigger issues our students and their families face.”

What would Sheyenne and Daniel offer as advice to someone discerning a year of service?

Sheyenne shared, “I would say to be flexible and open to whatever the year has in store for you. It may not go according to your plan, but it will go the way it was meant to go. Committing to a year of service can be scary, but you will grow both personally and professionally. You also meet great people who will be part of your life for a long time.” “Lasallian Volunteers is a fantastic opportunity to be supported and serve in underserved communities,” Daniel shared. “It helps you learn valuable skills as you work with a support system based in love, faith and service. The cohort, as well as the individual communities, are special and supportive, challenging you to continue to grow as you serve. I encourage anyone with a heart for service to apply for Lasallian Volunteers.”


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