Our November Ministry of the Month highlights Ocean Tides in Narragansett, Rhode Island. James Garland is a first-year LV and a 2021 graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California.
What is Ocean Tides?
Ocean Tides is a Lasallian school and residential program that is committed to providing a challenging, safe and healthy learning environment designed to meet the social, emotional, behavioral and intellectual needs of each individual. The young men who attend are in grades seven through 12. Ocean Tides School offers a full high school diploma, is licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Education and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition, Ocean Tides offers a certified special education program and career/technical education programming.
Why did James decide to become a Lasallian Volunteer?
During his time at Saint Mary’s College of California, a current LV at that time visited one of his classes. “She was honest, genuine and optimistic about the work she was doing. She talked openly about her community and her recent experience as a volunteer. After that I was hooked.”
What is James’ role at Ocean Tides?
James serves as a program assistant. He provides a split focus on both administration work and Group Life (GL). “My administration services include helping social workers, accountants and staff with various projects. Projects can be small programs, like acquiring fishing licenses for all students, or more significant projects, like helping administer driver’s ed and opening a student store. Working closely with the social workers allows me to sit in clinical meetings for students and to help administer different types of therapy. Currently, I am assisting with bovine therapy. My GL services comprise a more comprehensive range of coverage. It includes going on reward trips that the students potentially earn at the end of each month. However, my day-to-day with GL contains a large portion of recreational activities.”
Which of the core values (faith, service, community) is most important to James? Why?
The most important core value for James is service. “One of the critical reasons I took this position was my potential impact on the kids I would be serving. The effect I have on these kids is on the micro scale. However, they slowly add up to allow for real change to occur. Serving at Ocean Tides has taught me that change comes from within and with a support team. I am thrilled that I get to be a part of this support team. Serving others who are in need is one value that I attempt to achieve on all fronts. The population of students at Ocean Tides needs the service that LV provides, and I am honored to do so.”
What is the most important thing that James’ students need from him?
James recognizes the importance of being present to his students. “The daily involvement of being around the students is enough to make small changes. It’s about constantly being there for them. To check them when they need it and encourage them when they need validation. The students need us to create an authentic environment that holds them accountable and strongly encourages them to grow into the men they want to be.”
How has living and serving with the De La Salle Christian Brothers impacted James?
Living with 14 Brothers has been an enlightening experience for James, not without its challenges. “Spending my days with the Brothers has allowed me to see their mindset and commitment to education, which I strive to achieve. With any new life change, there is always an adjustment period. However, I have enjoyed living with the Brothers and look forward to building community with them.”
What would James say to a college senior who is discerning a year of service?
James strongly encourages young people to consider a year of service. “Becoming a Lasallian Volunteer has been a fulfilling experience. It’s been challenging, exhausting at times, and constantly a puzzle that needs solving. The payoff, however, is more than rewarding. It was the perfect bridge between college and emerging adulthood. The work you are doing has a natural, tangible impact. That’s what makes it worthwhile.”