Yearly Archives: 2009

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Kiera Maguire

Site: San Miguel Schools, Gary Comer Campus – Chicago, IL

College: Manhattan College

What do you do?

I am an 8th grade Language Arts, and Instructional Reading teacher. I also coach the Girls Varsity Basketball Team.

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

I chose to become a Lasallian Volunteer for many reasons including a challenging experience, job opportunities, a chance to adventure a new city etc. But mostly, I joined the program because I was following my heart. There was something bigger calling to me than just a job, or “something to do for a year”. I came into the program truly believing I would only complete one year, and here I am happier than ever in the middle of my 2nd year. Any hopes or expectations I had of the LV program and Chicago have been surpassed by extreme amounts. All of the ups and downs I expected to go through, I did. But, I have also realized that no matter how many down times there are, those up times, those happy moments make you feel greater than life. The students and co-workers I spend 10+ hour days with have changed who I am. They have made me realize more than ever, that impossible is nothing.

What has been your biggest disappointment in your volunteer service? How has this affected you?

I would never consider this a “disappointment”, but I would say my biggest surprise or shock is how committed I became to a mission, to a community, and to a school just by joining a volunteer program. Working at San Miguel has affected me in ways nothing thus far in my life has. It is what keeps me going and what has kept me here in Chicago for a 2nd year. I attempt to fast forward to 2010 and beyond and I cannot see myself without Gary Comer. So in thinking of a disappointment in my volunteer service I would say I am disappointed to think of how hard it is going to be to leave this place that I now consider home, and people who I now consider family.

Do you see yourself as different now from your friends from college as a result of the LV experience? How so?

The LV experience has completely transformed my life. I sometimes wonder where I would be if I had not ventured down this path, and I don’t really even want to know the answer. It was the best decision I made. Adjusting into a brand-new community life, along with learning the ropes in a full time teaching position was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Leaving behind college, friends and family did not make this task any easier. Although it was difficult I now look at it as an experience that has only made me stronger. I feel much more advanced into the rat race of the “real world” then some people that I went to college with. I see myself different mostly in appreciating life and what we have to offer. We so often as young adults take things for granted, and if anything working in the Austin community has taught me not to do that.

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

If you are a college senior who feels drive to do good for those underprivileged and knows that they cannot just be mediocre, I would say the LV program is for you. If you are looking for an experience that will challenge you in ways you never thought, this is for you. The LV program has just the right amount of people that you feel connected to all, but also feel a big group vibe.

If you would like to continue on in the “college ways” and habits I would say this program is not for you. The lifestyle of an LV is challenging, at times draining but always rewarding. You have responsibilities and tasks that effect people daily. That is the beauty of it, as a graduating senior you become immediately interjected into the “real world” and quickly become accustomed to the early morning work life. You also will learn what it means to LOVE being asleep by 9 p.m. I would recommend the LV program to any and all college seniors who feel compelled in their heart to make a difference; I promise the LV program will give you that.

By |December 1st, 2009|Categories: lv of the month|Comments Off on Kiera Maguire

Dora E. Arnold

Site: The De La Salle School – Freeport, New York

College: Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, CA

What do you do?

I am a 7th grade Spanish teacher; 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Religion teacher; and 5th and 6th grade Study Skills teacher.

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

I was first introduced to the Lasallian Volunteers when I student-taught two years ago in Racine, Wisconsin at the San Miguel Middle School as a part of the Christian Service Internship (CSI) Program at Saint Mary’s College of California. I learned and benefited from my Jan-term experience more than I thought I would and I wanted to become a Lasallian Volunteer because I was very impressed with the program. My experience in Racine and introduction to the Lasallian Volunteers program further opened my eyes to the realities of poverty and education in our country.

How has your involvement with the Brothers affected you?

My involvement with the Brothers has affected me in more ways than one. I have never lived with Christian Brothers until now and I can truly say that I am learning a lot from them. One of my Brothers’, Brother James, has been a huge support and mentor to me these past two months. He has been encouraging me in my work as a teacher and even helps me lesson plan regularly for one of my Religion classes. This means a great deal to me because I was not an Education major in college and I had no clue what to expect as a teacher, especially with lesson planning. Being able to learn from and exchange ideas with Brother James allows me to serve my students that much better. I knew I was entering a ‘whole new ballpark’ by becoming an LV and I’m thankful to experience the support and encouragement provided by the Christian Brothers in my community.

If you could project ahead a few years and look back to now, how do you think your experiences with those you serve and with the Brothers will have changed you?

When I project a few years ahead and imagine looking back to what I am experiencing now, I believe I will find that my experiences with those I serve and with the Brothers will have changed me. Being a Lasallian Volunteer is providing me an opportunity to work, grow, and learn in a field I never thought I would get into. I already have and will learn a great deal of knowledge from the students I serve, and I will be able to take those experiences into a field of work where I can further serve underrepresented people that are often underserved in our society and not given a fair chance. It takes a lot of patience to move to a place that is unfamiliar and to live with Christian Brothers. I imagine it also takes a lot of patience for the Christian Brothers to open their doors to LVs they don’t yet know. I definitely know that one thing I will take away with me is patience learned from working with the students I served, and in living in community.

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

would recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering because this program opens doors to recently graduated college students to work in underserved communities within the US. There are not that many programs out there that will help pay for or arrange for your housing, food, transportation, loan forbearance and medical insurance. The program allows each LV the chance to work at a site doing a job that the LV may not have any prior experience in. It’s an opportunity, I would say, that one shouldn’t pass up.

By |November 1st, 2009|Categories: lv of the month|Comments Off on Dora E. Arnold

2009-2010

09101

Seated front: Liz Limones, Erin Leone, Kelly Lazarowski, Kathleen Glackin, Nina Martinez, Dora Arnold.

Seated on benches: John Dellipriscoli, Luke Johnson, Megan Larson, Erin Kaufman, Samantha Almanza, Jamie Jaynes, Katie Quinton, Amelia Lewis, Antony Eddy, Sonya Lee.

Standing: Martin Richard, Recruitment Coordinator, Audrey Davis, Kaitlin Depuydt, Jennifer Tyndall, Dori Smith, Jackie Young, Katie Bulson, Garrett Philbin, Kiera Maguire, Andrew Ketchum, Thais Hunter, Glenna Krzyzanowski, Michael Clark, Michael Carlson, Scott Baietti, Maria Shao, Amanda Cosio-Bognuda, Amy Kalina, Jenn Hart, Kelly Towns, Jim Ruck, Development Director, Brendan Corcoran, Jolleen Wagner, Associate Director.

Standing on wall: Br. Ed Phelan, Kevin Kuczynski, Joshua McElwee, Alex Downes-Borowski, Kate Coulouras, Sara Clements, Michael Phipps, Ricky Vides, Ashley Roman, Andy Weingarten, Christina Caughey, Amanda Rodela, Melissa Spahr, Alina Rivas, Stacy Mick, Jeremy Silvernail, Alisa Macksey, Director.

– See more at: https://lasallianvolunteers.org/2010/09/13/2009-2010-lasallian-volunteers/#sthash.nu754ytq.dpuf

By |October 23rd, 2009|Categories: yearbook|Comments Off on 2009-2010

Mike Clark

Site: St. Stephen’s Academy – Kansas City MO

College: Manhattan College

What do you do?

I teach fourth grade at St. Stephen’s Academy, a small elementary school located in Kansas City, MO. The majority of the school’s student population is Hispanic, with most qualifying as “low-income”. Although our numbers are small, my students are eager to learn, enthusiastic, and dynamic. I teach each subject with the exception of Art and Physical Education. Also, I run an after school tutoring program along with my friend and fellow community member Kelly Lazarowski, who teaches third grade.

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

I chose to become a Lasallian Volunteer because I was interested in doing something post-college that was bigger than me. I needed to do something that would not only make me happy but make a difference as well. Also, I knew that I wanted to teach. The Lasallian Volunteers provided me with an opportunity to both teach and make a difference in the lives of those who are most in need. City schools like St. Stephen’s Academy are often overlooked, but they need great teachers. Thus far, every one of my hopes about the program has been realized. I feel as if I have made a major impact on the lives of my students, but I also feel as if I have grown immensely as I have learned to live outside of my own comfort zone. While living simply in a community with Christian Brothers may not be how everyone would like to spend their mid-20s, I could not be happier about the decision that I have made. Not only has being a part of the Volunteers provided me with a job, but they have provided me with the opportunity to view myself under the microscope and have some time to reflect on the important issues of my identity and my future.

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?

The most important “thing” that my students need from me is for me to be my best. As someone that has been (accurately) labeled as “overly competitive”, I am thrilled to have found a forum where my competitiveness is not a detriment, but an invaluable tool. Every day, I challenge myself to be better than I was the day before. These kids deserve that. Every morning when I wake up, I am motivated to top myself. As a first year teacher, I know that I don’t have all the answers. However, using the excuse of inexperience would not be fair to these eight students that need me to be on at all times. The way that I improve myself and hone my craft is by taking as much as I can from the resources around me. I have three teachers in my immediate family that have been working in schools for over fifty years combined. Two of my colleagues have been teaching forever and are notorious for their ability to reach students. I even bug Kelly – who I consider to be an absolutely spectacular teacher – a lot about her ideas on teaching. Whether it’s beginning every class by going around the room and mentioning what we are celebrating (thanks Bro. Ray!) or observing a co-workers discipline model, I have used the resources around me to make me better.

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

I believe the Community value of the Lasallian Volunteers has been most important to me. Living amongst a community has opened my eyes to a lot of things about me that I had never before detected. In just a month and a half in my community, I have been humbled and proud, sometimes on the same day. I have gained a lot of self-awareness and I feel as if I have developed and changed for the better. Brother Jim and Brother Dale have challenged me to look at life differently than I ever have before. Their dedication to the core values of Faith, Service, and Community and their prodding of me to leave my comfort zone has been inspiring to me.

While I made many lifelong friends during the Lasallian Volunteer Orientation in Romeoville, IL, I genuinely wouldn’t want to be going through this experience with anyone more than Kelly Lazarowski. She has been an absolutely ideal community member, making me laugh on a daily basis. While she is a very caring person who would jump through hoops for a friend, Kelly isn’t afraid to call me out on my ridiculousness and occasional lameness. I am extraordinarily pleased that, at the end of the day, I have made a fantastic friend.

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

I would begin by sitting back and listening, letting this person speak their peace. If it is a concerned parent, I would explain the positives I have seen in their child, but also explain the importance of rules and discipline in order to keep the classroom a safe place for everyone inside. If a student were having troubles at home or with a friend and came to me, I would explain to them that I am always going to be willing to listen to their concerns and try to work towards a solution as quickly and effectively as possible.

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

I would fill in the Principal to make sure he was aware of all the facts before jumping to conclusions. I would encourage a joint meeting between me, him, and the third party to see if situations can be worked out.

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

I would explain to them how much living with the Brothers has inspired me and tell them about the fascinating lives these men lead.

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

Not only does the LV program provide you with job security – so clutch, especially in these trying economic times – and give you the warm, fuzzy feeling of helping those that are less fortunate, but you really do meet some of the most amazing people ever. You really have to try in order to not connect with most of the people in this program.

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

Here in the LV Program, we’re doing the Lord’s work. We’re making a difference in the lives of children that have been counted out and ignored, due to either socioeconomic class or heritage. The LV Program gives opportunities to those that have been born into their current situation and are struggling through no fault of their own. Nobody joins the LV Program because of the salary and the luxurious life of the volunteer. We’re not asking you to volunteer your time. We have that covered. All you have to do is feel. All you have to do is open up your heart and realize how much people depend on the Lasallian Volunteers. In order for us to keep doing what we’re doing, a contribution to the program would be invaluable and extraordinarily generous.

By |October 1st, 2009|Categories: lv of the month|Comments Off on Mike Clark

Alina Marie Rivas

Site: San Miguel Middle School – Camden, NJ

College: Lewis University

What do you do?

As a Teachers’ Assistant at San Miguel, I work with the lead teachers to help co-teach lessons, work with small groups on a lesson, work one on one with a student, and help manage classroom behavior. After school I help tutor students during homework time, and this year I will begin helping our school further develop a Graduate Support position, which will assist the 8th graders in finding a high school to attend, and provide support for the alums of San Miguel.

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

I chose to become an LV for two reasons: to foster my love of service, and to grow professionally. While attending Lewis University I was able to participate in various outreach programs provided by Campus Ministry, and these outreach programs ignited a fire for serving inside of me. I am so thankful for the various programs that were offered to me, because they opened my eyes to different cultures, world poverty, faith, and a need to give back.

Before I joined the program I actually worked in a school for 6 months. I found out being an educator is a tough job. At San Miguel my students challenge me every day to be the best teacher I can be. They have taught me so much about teaching and life in general, and I know that they are helping me become a better teacher. I have been able to diversify my style of teaching so that I can help all my students achieve academic success. The administration and staff here at San Miguel are very supportive so if I ever have a problem or need help I feel confident in asking for it. I don’t know if I would have had this much support if I were a typical first year teacher.

Joining this program has definitely helped bring back my love for service. When I’m at our volunteer retreats I feel so special to be around a large group of young adults working to change the world. Our group is pretty amazing and I feel honored to be a member of this program.

Do you see yourself as different now from your friends from college as a result of the LV experience? How so?

There are a couple things that set me apart from my friends as a result of my LV experience. As an education major I became acquainted with many people that are alos now in the education field. I am sure they care about their students, but even if some of my classmates have students that come from as troubled an area as Camden, NJ the teachers are not likely living in the troubled area with them. I literally live next door to my school and the kids know it. Being there has helped me to develop a rapport with them that I believe few other teachers ever have with their students. This has opened the door to a deeper understanding or connection with the boys of San Miguel. Living in the same troubled city as my students has opened my eyes to the poverty of the world around us that we might be blind to in our daily lives, and it has made me more aware of my own blessings day in and day out. Additionally, moving away from the Midwest to the east coast, living with the Brothers, living in a truly urban setting, and participating in open dialog with my fellow LVs have challenged me to constantly reflect on and review my thoughts on all forms of diversity including culture, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and more.

A much less important difference is that I have a job. In the current state of our economy many of my friends that are recent college graduates have found it exceedingly difficult to find employment that matches their qualifications and their need for a competitive salary to pay loans. I have an LV friend who likes to quip, “no one is firing volunteers,” and I find that this is totally true. The school I serve works with a pretty tight budget and being able to employ volunteers (not just LVs at my particular site) helps them to operate within the budget while giving me career building experience and allowing me to defer my federal loans.

How has your involvement with the Brothers affected you?

Living and working with the Brothers has been a blessing! I have learned so much from the Brothers that I know will stay with me forever. They have taught me the value of including faith in my daily life and giving myself time to reflect and pray about my day. I feel that my relationship with God has improved so much since I started living in community with the Brothers. I have also been able to adapt to a simple living lifestyle, which was not easy at first and I am no pro at it but I’m working on it. I have met some amazing Brothers and I have learned so much about life, faith, and the importance being an educator by just listening to their stories. I work and live with two of my Brothers and they have been very supportive and have given great advice when I am having any difficulties with school or teaching. I am so thankful for my Brothers: Patrick Cassidy, Joseph Mahon, and Joseph Juliano; they are the older brothers I never had! I look forward to another year of living in community with the Brothers.

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

I would first ask them to explain the problem, and then remind them of how amazing they are, and try to help them to the best of my abilities (showing the student their options), and if I could not help send them to someone who could better help them.

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 would explain the difficulties that the student is dealing with right now to my principal, and maybe ask my principal to talk with the student to help reevaluate the situation.

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

I would say living with the Brothers is a blast and I would invite that friend to come visit for a long weekend so that s/he could experience our community life. Remember just because they are Brothers does not mean that they don’t know how to have fun. My Brothers are wonderful men and great role models of what an educator should be. They are caring, passionate, supportive, funny, sarcastic, great at their jobs, giving of their time and energy, spiritual, great cooks, and are making a difference in the world one student at a time.

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

The LV program is amazing and I have grown so much personally, professionally, and spiritually. I am an example of why someone would/should join this program. This program provides so many opportunities for growth and overall experiences.

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

Donating to the LV program is not just an investment in the volunteers that receive and utilize the funds, but an investment in the students and clients that we are able to serve because of those funds. It is an investment in the future of our country. Who knows how many Barack Obamas, Hilary Clintons, Brad Pitts, Julia Roberts, Michael Jordans, and on and on we have in our classes, they only need to be given the opportunity to see the potential that lies within them. The LV program provides kids like those at San Miguel the support they need to realize their abilities.

By |September 1st, 2009|Categories: lv of the month|Comments Off on Alina Marie Rivas