College: The University of Saint Thomas
What do you do?
My main position is similar to a social work intern. I see students for counseling both in groups and individually. I help to plan the groups, help with intake when students come to look at the school, tell them about the program and take them on tours of the building. From time to time I also substitute as a teacher’s aide. This consists of leading a homeroom from class to class and making sure they are behaving. I’ve also held some oddball jobs like helping cook and being the front office lady who gets to sign late passes for students and answer the phones.
Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer? Have your hopes about the Program been realized?
I chose to be a Lasallian Volunteer because while going to DeLaSalle high school in Minneapolis I met and got to know two LVs who were serving at my school. From then on, they were always in the back of my mind. Through my Lasallian youth work in high school and into college I was always meeting former LVs who would speak highly of their experiences. Each of these people stayed in the back of my mind, and at one Lasallian Youth convention I noticed a funny feeling during one of the small group sessions. The topic was joining the Lasallian Volunteers. This was the summer before my senior year of college, so I looked into the program and here I am today. I am a product of the Lasallian Volunteers. They served me and now I am serving a new group of students.
At Marten De Porres our students come from homes that may not always be very warm and loving. One of the most important things I do for our students is to simply ask them how they are and offer a stable relationship to them. I go out of my way to say good morning, ask how their state testing went, tell them they look nice today, and ask them how they are doing. This gives them a feeling of security and stability that they may not have at home.
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?
I would look back and see how living with brothers for two years taught me about myself and about how I handle situations. You don’t realize how you react to things until you are put into a situation like living in community. Problems with your college roommates were different because they were your own age and problems with your parents are different because you have known them your whole life. My cleanliness around the house has changed for the better, something my mom likes when I am visiting home in Minnesota. My service is also helping me to be a less judgmental person. People are often fast to look at a person and automatically have preconceived notions of where they come from and who they are; working with my students has changed that about me and has led me to working a little harder at understanding people and their life situations.
What would you say to a friend from home who questioned why you chose to live with the Brothers?
What’s the point of having so many years to live on this earth, why not give a year or two out of the 75 to 100 yrs you may live, to others? I could not think of a good enough reason to say no to a program like this. For most if not all of us LVs, it’s about stepping out of our comfortable worlds and diving into a lifestyle we would have never dreamed of. Living with the brothers — who for me, were the leaders and teachers of my Lasallian high school, and the thought of calling their home my own would have sounded crazy 7 years ago. But I do call their home my own and there are times when we act like children, and react to things the wrong way, but that’s what families are like. This is how people grow. People do not always get along but at the end of the day you love them all the more. You learn so much from them, and they too learn from you.