Yearly Archives: 2007

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Sandra Sanchez

Site: La Salle Academy – New York City, NY

College: St. Mary’s College in California

What do you do?

My title is Academic Support Center Tutor, but I do many things. My main duty is to tutor students in English, Global Studies, Science, and Math. Secondly, I am in charge of the summer program called Beyond the Classroom; which allows students to go on educational trips for the summer. My third duty entails chaperoning field trips with teachers. I also counsel students on topics such as what college to attend, G.P.A questions, girlfriend issues, and dealing with deaths in the family.

Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer? Have your hopes about the Program been realized?

It was approximately two years ago that I decided to become an LV because of a trip I took my senior year. I was granted the opportunity to live in Chicago at the Back of the Yards community for the month of January. During the month, I was a teacher’s aide in the 7th grade and helped students read and catch up on assignments they had missed. I was able to live in the community and work with the teachers and Lasallian Volunteers. The experience opened my eyes to volunteering and living in community. The Lasallian Volunteers treated me as a colleague and even though I was a temporary volunteer, I felt I belonged. They also showed me what it meant to be Lasallian and how to live the Lasallian mission. That month was a glimpse into what I would do for the next two years. I have never regretted becoming a Lasallian volunteer.

What is the most important “thing,” do you think, that your students need from you? What do you do to try to provide this?

At the Academic Support Center, students might tell you that my goal of the day is to kick them out of the center. Of course, it’s just the opposite, and my real purpose is to get them to learn something everyday. We always make sure that the students are working on something. On Fridays we have game days that enable us to step out of the academic realm and do some socializing. The most important things for my students are attention and support. How exactly do you tell a teenage boy his worth without him rolling his eyes at you and saying that’s ‘whack’? Simply ask how his day is going and really mean it. Who doesn’t want attention? When there are 20 students in the room, it is hard to give everybody the attention that they deserve, but knowing at the end of the day that they have a place to come and have that opportunity feels pretty darn good.

How has your involvement with the Brothers affected you?

The Brothers are sources of information. They listen to me and guide me in making difficult decisions. They have been in the field of education longer than I have been alive, so when it comes to asking about how to deal with discipline and teaching, I go to them. For example, during the summer I taught incoming freshmen English, and the book we read was “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I had no idea how to teach or even where to start, so I asked the Brothers. Everybody had input which was really helpful, but Br. Bill had a lot of advice to give especially about the book we were reading. He broke it down and made me think about how to approach the themes in the text and make the material engaging for the class. That summer was exhausting, mentally and physically, but rewarding in that I was able to do it. As for getting myself involved in new activities, I have to give credit to Br. Ed for motivating me. I never saw myself as a runner, or as someone who would get up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym. But Br. Ed’s abundant energy to do these things made me want to give it a try. Never in my life did I think I would ever want to run. But he showed me a new perspective– I had to take care of myself in order to take care of others. The Chicago Marathon training wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Br. Ed. And lastly, Br. Michael’s presence in the Academic Support Center has assured me of my progress. His feedback has helped me believe in myself and the work that I do. Overall, my confidence has grown because of these three Brothers.

What might you say to your Principal who appeared negative about the recent behavior of the student who had recently confided in you?

One of the things that is unique to the Academic Support Center is that many teachers and faculty do not see the students as we see them in the center. I would assure the Principal, that under a different microscope, the person is different and urge reconsideration of the situation the student faces.

Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?

Being a Lasallian Volunteer is a sacrifice that not a lot of people would make. It is a sacrifice in that you are not making the same amount of money as your friends might be making. No office perks and no Christmas bonuses. The rewards will not always be tangible things, but are felt deep inside. In this program once you are a member, you are supported and nurtured. It remains part of your life even after you leave your site, and no one forgets what you have done for them.

Why would you recommend a contribution to the LV Program from a prospective donor?

I heard once from somewhere, “Being happy and fulfilled is sharing that which you have and love.” Whatever the contribution, it is from the sharing and giving that one benefits. It may sound cliché, but I think it’s true. Our communities, students, clients, and volunteers benefit from any contribution, small or great. Contributions go toward making it possible for a student to go on a trip, buying a student books, or having another Lasallian Volunteer at a site. It all helps.

By |December 1st, 2007|Categories: lv of the month|Comments Off on Sandra Sanchez

Zac Ufnar

Site: San Miguel School – Tulsa, OK

College: Mercyhurst College

What do you do?

I teach 6th-8th grade social studies to 67 amazing children. Many of them come from unfortunate situations and live everyday struggling to find answers to many of their important questions. I also help out by transporting all of the athletes to their games and I am the only individual to proudly carry the title of 6th grade boys volleyball coach. Yet my most esteemed position would have to be the breakfast bar barista! Serving generic and non-sweetened cereal to teenagers is hard work!

Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer? Have your hopes about the Program been realized?

I do not know why I was born into such wealth and love, but for me to continue my life and not share what I’ve been blindly given is unacceptable. St. John Baptist de LaSalle chose to teach the children who no one else would teach. He saw hope among the hopeless. While I rarely see leaps of progress day to day, I know what I am doing is morally right, my responsibility, and truly necessary. The satisfaction I receive from knowing my place among the children at San Miguel Tulsa is enough to carry me through the hardest of days.

What have you discovered about poverty from your work?

I have discovered poverty is multi-dimensional. It exists in many ugly shades and it’s confusing. Poverty is more than just not having much money. Poverty is a wide gaping hole in someone’s heart. It’s the absence one feels when they realize there is no price to mend the broken heart. Whether a child cannot afford a new pair of sneakers or a child cannot afford a father to come to a sporting event, they see the that i’s are not dotted and the t’s are not crossed and it simply does not make sense to them.

What is the most important “thing,” do you think, that your students/clients/guests need from you? What do you do to try to provide this?

My students need attention. They need someone who is willing to engage them when they do or say something inappropriate. They need someone who is willing to work with them even after they have done something wrong. They need someone who recognizes their worth as a human being. I would like to think the most important thing I can offer is my smile. It is the simplest way of conveying, “I think you’re something else”.

What would you say to a friend from home who questioned why you chose to live with the Brothers?

Living in an intentional community is something I’ve been wanting to do all my life. One can experience life in many different ways. I have been given the privilege to live with the Christian Brothers, a group of religious men who have dedicated their lives to educating the poor and serving others.

Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?

I wanted to volunteer knowing I had a purpose at a site in need and knowing I had the love and support of the people around me. Between the LV staff, fellow LV’s, and the Brothers I live with, I feel I have all of the support in the world to do a task which asks for everything you got. If that’s not enough consider this fact which made it a done deal for me: More than one in three volunteers renew for an additional year. Something is apparently working with this program.

Why would you recommend a contribution to the LV Program from a prospective donor?

If someone desires to work for free, love with no extra strings attached, willingly enter the presence of the hopeless and completely devote themselves to making a difference for an entire year let us all provide the assistance it takes to making those desires, realities. Penny by penny. Dollar for dollar.

By |November 1st, 2007|Categories: lv of the month|Comments Off on Zac Ufnar

2007-2008

07081

First Row
Megan Luna, Colleen Boyette, Denis Block, Paul Avvento, Mario Ragghianti, Erica Sage, Katie Hills

Second Row
Cecilia Luna, Sarah Bellingham, Janet Solis, Sophia Cartagena, Alissa Christopherson,
Betty Marquez, Annabel Gallo, Stacy Fitzwater, Kendall Marsden, Casey Wilson, Katie Jann

Third Row
Claire Johnson, Stephanie Sanchez, Rachael Hoffman, Mary Broderick, Sarah Jane Engle, Ashley Prevost, Heather Melgosa, Sandra Sanchez, Mari Anzicek, Kristen Rafferty, Kristin Retzloff, Rose Daum, Alisa Macksey – Director

Fourth Row
athan Czaia, Argenis Rubio, Zachary Ufnar, Joan Bachynsky, Annie Harala, Daniel Maher, Samantha Wildhaber, Jorge Mejia, Daniel Salvaggio, Karen Schutten, Patrick Mecca, Sara Vogelpohl, Seth Whetzel – Coordinator of Recruitment

Fifth Row
Jolleen Wagner – Associate Director, Bro. Ed Phelan – LV Advisory Board, Jim Ruck – Director of Development, Joe Kolar, Joe Whearty, Joel Kreitzberg, Gary Pritts, Joe Kilmade, Jorge Gonzalez.

– See more at: https://lasallianvolunteers.org/2010/09/13/2007-2008-lasallian-volunteers/#sthash.heM0JXdY.dpuf

By |October 23rd, 2007|Categories: yearbook|Comments Off on 2007-2008

Beatriz (Betty) Marquez

Site: San Miguel School, Back of the Yards Campus – Chicago, IL

College: Saint Mary’s College of California

What do you do?

I form part of the Family and Graduate Support Team, working mainly with graduates of the middle school, aiding them to ensure they get all the way through high school.

What have you discovered about poverty from your work?

What I have discovered about poverty is that it goes far beyond the lack of finances. It is easy for mainstream society to blame the poor for not seeking opportunities, for not making the most of their situation with all the benefits that this country has to offer, etc. What gets forgotten, and is the most difficult to understand without experiencing it, is that not everyone has the same opportunities out there. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to bite my tongue, because I am suddenly aware that I can’t assume that these students are legal, I can’t assume that they always have parental supervision, I can’t assume that the recent shootings aren’t affecting their behavior. It’s more obvious to me than ever that I may not have grown up with money, but that I always had opportunities available to me. Poverty is not something that people seek out, it’s not something that can be overcome, it’s something that is created by society and that you are either born into or not.

Have you noticed any signs of success in your work? What are they?

Working with graduates is not the easiest job in the world. I don’t have the advantage of seeing “my students” in a classroom every day, or on a court a few times a week. In order to really work with them and be effective, a relationship has to be built. Being “the rookie” on my team, I really have to make an effort to get the students to open up to me and let me know when they need help. For the most part, I have been nothing but a staff person to them, someone they go to for help with logistical stuff “Can I use the phone to call my mom?” or do you know where (insert any name) is?”. Last week, on one of the days when I wasn’t running tutoring, I came in to get some students to sign thank you cards for donors. To my surprise the students started to ask about me, and say “How’s it going Ms. Betty?” and “Why aren’t you working today?”. Suddenly, I’m not just a staff person, not only do I have a name, but they acknowledged my presence without me having to approach them first. Certainly bigger moments of trust have occurred, and deeper conversations have taken place, but in that moment it was totally unexpected and made me feel like I haven’t turned them away yet.

Which of the core values (Faith, Community, Service) are most important to you? Why?

While all three core values have been very important and present in my experience as a volunteer, I feel that Faith has really been the one that has gotten me through my adjustment to my life as a volunteer. It has been hard for me to be away from home, to adjust to “new roommates”, new schedules, a new job, and on top of everything to live in a very rough neighborhood. There have been multiple times when going home and giving this all up would have been more than justified, but since the beginning I’ve truly believed that I am meant to be here, that there is some greater purpose to the tough times, and that despite it all, I am in a good place.

What would you say to one of your students/mothers/clients/guests who came to you discouraged about a particularly troubling problem?

What I find myself saying to both graduates and their parents when they are discouraged is “that’s completely understandable”. I think it’s important to provide some sort of consolation, but it’s equally important to never feel pity, or to try to make it seem like you know exactly what they are going through. When people come to you with a problem they usually just need for someone to acknowledge that the problem does exist, that it does (for lack of a better word) suck, and that there isn’t something completely wrong with them for not knowing what to do or getting into that situation in the first place. Regardless of how the point gets across, it’s important to me that after we talk they get the sense that if I was in their exact situation, with their resources, with their attachment to the problem, I too would feel the same way. Once that common ground is established, it is much easier to work together to try to find a solution, or if there isn’t one, to at least provide a sense that someone else “gets it”.

What might you say to your Principal/Supervisor who appeared negative about the recent behavior of the person just above who had recently confided in you?

I think it’s important to communicate that the student or parent or whoever came to you seeking help. In some situations it isn’t appropriate to share all or any of the details, but it really helps to re-frame the behavior for the other person. It’s easy to forget in the mechanics of the day (especially when working with teens in a school setting) that people exist within their environment. A behavior is never simply a behavior, it’s a response to what they have experienced and what they’re trying to deal with in that moment. Working with the population we’re working with, it’s important to continuously check-in on family life and happenings in the neighborhood, sometimes you forget to take that into consideration, but an easy reminder usually puts people back on track.

What would you say to a friend from home who questioned why you chose to live with the Brothers?

People who don’t understand why I live with Brothers, typically don’t understand the entire Lasallian Mission. So first you have to go into what a Brother is, what they do, and then you can go into why they live in community. Then they look at you and think “you’re a young, un-vowed female, what does that have anything to do with you?”. Then you can go into the type of work that we do and how draining it can be. While the days are rewarding, you are still often left with the sense that the world is unjust, that so few people are trying to help those that are obviously in need, and that regardless of how many hours you put in, you are still barely making a dent towards change. Living in community is about experiencing these feelings along with others, it’s about being able to talk about your job without people giving you that look and thinking you’re crazy. Community is not always fun, and it’s not always enjoyable, but it gets you through the tough days.

Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?

Strictly speaking from a career point of view, the LV program is a really good option for a college senior. It never ceases to amaze me that I have a real grown-up job and am treated like a real grown-up employee. It seems like something so simple, but to find a job straight out of college, without having much experience, without necessarily knowing what you want to do with your life, and with a really manageable commitment (you can do one year of anything), is pretty amazing. Even if my placement turns out not be to fulfilling, and life-altering (which I think it will be), it’s going to look great on my resume and my grad school applications for the future.

Why would you recommend a contribution to the LV Program from a prospective donor?

There are a lot of really good volunteer programs out there to donate to, nobody is going to deny that. I would recommend the LV program specifically to donors because in many ways it’s very unique. Everybody wants to donate to that group that sends people into the poor villages in “developing countries”, it’s easy to think that the places that are very far away are the ones that need the most help. The LV program stays right here, in the most common cities of the United States, taking on the challenge of that neighborhood that everyone wants to look away from, places that so obviously need help, that are so obviously not being served. There’s also the aspect of community. It exists not only within each site, but within the entire network. Each site is different and each volunteer has a different experience, but it’s really obvious that even if you’re in a southern state you can call a volunteer in California and they’re going to be able to relate. Our connection to the Christian Brothers and the traditions of Saint John Baptist De La Salle are also very unique and give us a very real, very effective model that at the core has the very best of intentions.

By |October 1st, 2007|Categories: lv of the month|Comments Off on Beatriz (Betty) Marquez

Annie Harala

Site: La Salle High School – Yakima, WA

College: St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN

What do you do?

• Junior English and Drama teacher
• Assistant Campus Minister
• Assistant Tennis Coach
• Public Relations and Development
• Director of “Follies” (an all school talent production)
• Substitute Teacher

Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer? Have your hopes about the Program been realized?

I knew that after graduating from college I wanted to join a volunteer program. After looking at various programs, I chose the Lasallian Volunteers because of the program’s emphasis on faith, community, and service. I also wanted to have the experience to serve the poor while living in a religious community. My hopes for the program have been realized. I have grown in my faith, come to understand the importance of community, and have had the opportunity to serve many people that have changed my life.

What is the most important “thing,” do you think, that your students need from you? What do you do to try to provide this?

The most important part of my service to La Salle High School is the positive connection I have with each student. Today, young people have too many negative world influences. I strive to be a positive connection that my students can turn to for guidance, safety, and support. I make sure that my classroom is a safe environment for everyone to learn. I’m also available to each student on a regular basis if they need to work through a problem, get help with homework, or if they need to hear a cheesy joke to lighten their day.

Have you noticed any signs of success in your work? What are they?

My Drama class is extremely special and dear to my heart. I started the year with eight students from all grades, maturity levels, and social and economic classes. After a rough first day of silence from the students, I made a promise to myself that I would help to create a safe place for my students to express themselves on a daily basis. This goal has been surpassed through the open and supportive minds and hearts that my students bring to class each day.

How has your involvement with the Brothers affected you?

I am humbled on a daily basis by the humility that each Brother in my community portrays. My fellow Volunteers have written volumes about their experiences with this and other aspects of community which I fully embrace. The most important aspect of my life with the Brother’s has taught me that religious people are real people too. They have good and bad days, they get tired, excited, frustrated, and exhausted just like the rest of us. They have simply decided to base their lives on faith in a community of people working toward a common goal. The Brothers have helped me with the transition from college to the “real world.” If you had told me one year ago that I would be an “early to bed – early to rise person” I would have laughed you out of the room. But this is only one of the steps that they have helped me to become an adult while I live in community with the Brothers.

What would you say to a friend from home who questioned why you chose to live with the Brothers?

I chose to live with the Brother’s because I wanted to learn more about the life and teachings of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, and wanted to better understand Community Life in the Lasallian tradition. These expectations have been surpassed, and I look forward to another year of learning how to live and work with the same Community of faithful servants.

Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?

As a senior in college I was really scared to leave the safe haven of the “world of knowledge.” I applied to the Program knowing that my Community would offer me some support throughout the year, but I did not realize how much support is set up for each Volunteer on a national level by the LV office. The Lasallian Volunteer Program offers a network of support to each of its Volunteers. Each has a site and community director, staff and alumni mentors, and the LV staff for personal support throughout the year. The program also has three retreats a year that help to create a bond between all of the Lasallian Volunteers serving around the Unites States.

Why would you recommend a contribution to the LV Program from a prospective donor?

The support that the LV program has offered to me throughout this year has helped my growth immensely this year. Without the help of donors, this support would not be possible. It is my sincerest hope that you are able to help to send Lasallian Volunteers into works to build communities like that of my drama class. This work is truly filling a need in our society and it is my sincerest hope that we are able to continue the Lasallian Mission.

By |June 1st, 2007|Categories: lv of the month|Comments Off on Annie Harala