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.