Dori Smith

Site: De Marillac Academy – San Francisco, CA

College: Lewis University

What do you do?

I am a Middle School Science Teacher

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

We can learn the most from those who endure a great amount of suffering and the LV program is an opportunity for me to get to know these people, learn from them, and also be of service to them. I want my students to use education as a tool to obtain a brighter future. I have received more insight and fulfillment from this experience than I ever could have imagined. The faculty at De Marillac Academy, the Brothers, and especially my students are the greatest teachers I’ve ever had!

What is the most important thing, do you think, that your students need from you? How do you provide this?

The most important thing my students need from me is support in understanding and developing their unique gifts. They need to know how to overcome challenges, understand their self worth, and recognize their exceptional abilities. These students have so much to offer this world and they need to realize all that they are capable of achieving. I try to provide this by forming relationships with my students and implementing content that is meaningful and applicable; then they are given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways. They participate in activities and assessments that appeal to several different modes of learning. When students become confident and independent, they are able to be positive and influential members of society.

How has your involvement with the Brothers affected you?

My involvement with the Brothers has been such an incredible experience. I am constantly surrounded with the most genuine support system. The Brothers are some of the most selfless people I have ever met and they are always there for me to listen or to make me laugh after the end of a long day. I find comfort and spiritual nourishment during morning and evening prayer with the community. I am so thankful for this experience and I feel blessed to know such sincere, dedicated, and remarkable individuals.

Which of the core values are the most important to you? Why?

Faith is the foundation for everything that my life is based on. I feel like my faith brings me a purpose and happiness; without my faith, I would be lost. It keeps me rooted in Christ and points me in the right direction.

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

I have learned that Jesus truly lives within all of us. That’s an easy thing to say, but it’s important to recognize that the word “all” means drug addicts, prostitutes, felons, cheaters, disabled, abusers, impoverished, liars, and murderers. When I walk to work everyday, I am reminded that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. This experience has taught me that amongst all the suffering, Christ is right in the middle of it. I have learned to open my heart and mind to clearly see God’s presence at work in my students and the community in which they live. I know that when I encounter hardships in the future I will look back on this experience and trust that God will walk me through it.

Why would you recommend a contribution to Lasallian Volunteers from a prospective donor?

I highly recommend for people to contribute to the LV program because education is an irreplaceable gift that benefits all of society. Contributions to the LV program mean that individuals will be given resources for a chance at a better life, which they wouldn’t otherwise have. The LV program implements strategies that create a lasting impact well into the future… and who doesn’t want that?!