I cannot believe I am starting my second year as a Lasallian Volunteer! The first year was a learning experience, from start to finish. I learned how to navigate airports, O’Hare and Midway, by myself. I came to the realization that I am not a little girl, instead I was transforming into a young woman. I learned how to be an adult. I learned how to budget and save. If money got low, I learned to wait for the next pay period, rather than call my mom for a loan. I experienced paying my own bills. I even learned to cook, rather than call for takeout. I learned what it is to have a job with responsibilities. All these important experiences I learned because I stepped out of my comfort zone.
When I first started volunteering at LaSalle School my position was originally recreation. I would help Mr. LaFave, the campus minister, with campus ministry throughout the week. One ministry activity is taking the boys to Switch on Wednesday nights. Switch is an organized event by Life Church that invites youth from the surrounding communities to participate in a worship night. While having time in my schedule, I gradually started to sit in classrooms helping the boys with their in-class work. This fall, there is an additional LV at LaSalle School, who works recreation. I’ve seen this as an opportunity to leave recreation and move into the school. Thanks to the help of Maggie Naughton and feedback from staff at the school, I will be working in the school as a teacher’s assistant in an English class. Now, let us talk about my schedule! When I worked in recreation, I would go in at 2:00 p.m. With my new role in the school, I now have to report in at 7:45 a.m. The school day ends at 3:15 p.m., rather than 8:30 p.m. I will probably wake up at 5:20 a.m. I take forever to get ready!
Now, let us talk about the obvious! Volunteering at LaSalle School, I am deemed an essential worker. So how has it been? When coronavirus first made its entrance, I was nervous, but only for a split second. You may wonder why, a split second? Well, I had to lean on my faith. There are two Bible verses, Psalms 23 and 91, that have brought peace into my heart and mind. Besides me using my faith, there have been changes in the school. Everyone must wear a mask, social distance and get their temperatures taken daily. There will only be a maximum of six boys in a classroom. If LaSalle goes virtual, e-learning, then I will have a new role, participating as staff in the divisions. One phrase that I am leaning heavily on is, “we shall see how this school year goes!”
Not only has coronavirus impacted LaSalle School, but also my social life. My birthday is quickly approaching, September 30. Last year, my mom was able to fly out to Albany and celebrate with me, but this year she will not be able to. Campus is closed to all family and friends. This will be my first birthday without my mom. Yes, it is disappointing, but I know she will be sending her love my way. She has never forgotten to make me feel extra loved on my birthday, and this virus will not prevent me from receiving my mother’s love, even if we cannot be together. I know I will enjoy my special day with my community! Only God knows whether there will be clearance in the future for the volunteers to travel home for holidays, but Albany is prepared to celebrate the holidays together.
I pray you all stay healthy, stay safe and continue to be responsible! God bless!!!
Kajah Griffin in a second-year volunteer at LaSalle School in Albany, New York, serving as a teacher’s assistant. She is a 2019 graduate of Lewis University with a degree in exercise and movement science.
Applications to serve in 2021-2022 will go live on September 21, 2020 and will be available here.