Monthly Archives: August 2012

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Kristen Brenner: The Beginnings

Kristen Brenner, 11-13, De Marillac Academy, San Francisco, CA

Where did the first year go? I cannot believe that this is even possible, but I feel more excited this year than last. Now that the basics are under my belt, I am not worried about what it will be like and how can I help. I am focused on the particular things that I know I can do to help.

Last week was the first week of school with the students and tomorrow is the first real day of classes with the students. Since I gained a bit more responsibility this year, I will be more involved with the school. This year I will be teaching the 5th and the 8th grade. One aspect of my responsibilities is that I will be preparing the 8th grade for their transition into high school. I am extremely excited to be part of the 8th grade team to help them get into the private high school of their choice. I am willing to work with any student to raise their grade, help them apply, and help them on their entrance exam. This critical time will set them up for their future and I am so pleased to be a part in that.

Since I taught 5th grade last year, I feel really comfortable with the material and I am excited to make things more interesting this year. My plan is to get the students out of their seats more often. I want to introduce “Game Friday”. This will allow the students to learn the skill Monday-Thursday and then be able to apply it in a game on Friday of that same week. The new 5th grade class seems to be a great class so far and they seem like they are really ready to learn!

One thing that I found myself working on last year was stopping and reflecting. I have never really done this before last year. It is something that I think is essential for everyone. It is not something that comes easy, especially when work gets crazy, but it is something that is needed. I found that when I got tangled in my work or my busy schedule, I wasn’t recognizing the good I was actually doing. It is so easy to say that it is just a “job”. In reality though, I was helping young students on a daily basis in many different ways than just academics . At times last year when I gathered with the other LVs, I felt that my job wasn’t as helpful to society as theirs were. I knew that this wasn’t true, but that I was just not allowing myself to see how I was helping. I learned to not get caught up in the work itself and recognize what exactly is taking place. This year I am going to continue with this challenge of stopping and realizing what I am doing. In order to get the most out of this program, it is necessary to reflect on your service.

Kristen Brenner, 11-13, De Marillac Academy, San Francisco, CA

By |August 27th, 2012|Categories: blog|2 Comments

Early Volunteer is Model for All Lasallians

Jay listening at a Lasallian Volunteers gathering in Pittsburgh, March 26, 2008.

Pittsburgh – Sat. August 25, 2012. At 11 AM today a funeral Mass was celebrated  for Jay O’Toole at the Oratory in Pittsburgh. Jay was a teacher all his life and retired from the Great Neck Public Schools (New York).. In the early 1980’s he applied to be in the first group of volunteers on the Lower East Side of NYC. For six years he shared community with other volunteers and Brothers at La Salle Academy while helping students at Nativity and LaSalle.

A year ago, while the LVs Ride took a day off in town, we spent quality time with Jay. He shared with us some of his frustrations of not being able to help people but quite   candidly admitted to his efforts at reaching out to aide other residents and staff in his  Assisted Living Residence.

Thanks Jay for sharing your life with us.

Ed Phelan, FSC; Jim Ruck (LV 95-96) and Gail Britanik (LV 95-96)

J. Robert O’Toole served as a Lasallian Volunteer from 1983-1990. The following is an excerpt from the Dedication page of the 1963 Great Neck High School Yearbook, quoted by his niece Molly in her eulogy

“Many fine phrases may be used to characterize Mr. O’Toole, but one – love of life – reveals his personality to    a greater extent than any other. It is his great joy in the beauty of life that has endeared him to so many, for his enthusiasm is contagious and none who come in contact with him are unaffected by the experience.”

“Mr O’Toole has a great talent for teaching: he has an   almost magical flair for awakening in students the desire to learn. But his greatest gift is his boundless optimism, good humor, and, above all, his ever – present kindness, which make him a truly outstanding human being. His way, so honest to himself, so constructive to others, becomes his student’s way.”

By |August 27th, 2012|Categories: news + events|3 Comments

Katie Delaney: And it feels like…

Katie Delaney, 12-13, John XXIII Educational Center, Racine, WI

Did that just happen? Being home after ten days of Orientation for the Lasallian Volunteer (LV) Program in Romeoville, IL feels so… weird- almost surreal. I have to keep reminding myself that yes, indeed, the whirlwind of the past two months and especially those ten days of Orientation did just happen. I have a new job, new community, and new philosophy, and it all starts in a new state in three days. I feel like so much has changed both within and around me already since my first introduction to the LV tradition, that I can’t imagine the changes that will take place over the next year.

Celebrating the Olympics, LV style!

Orientation was and was not I was expecting. I expected and was excited for the busy schedule, feeling like a student again, and being a part of a team atmosphere. I expected that I would learn more about a rich Lasallian tradition that I had no idea existed, but am throwing myself into at what feels like 100 miles a minute. I expected to feel fulfilled about having a job to do. I was very excited to see all of these expectations become reality.

I did not expect that Orientation would push me and challenge me to face things I haven’t wanted to- aspects of myself which I have been struggling to accept and deal with over the past few years. I did not expect to cry while leaving people I had only known for ten days, people I felt comfortable being completely myself with after only a few hours together. I did not expect that with job training, I would also discover a new sense of identity. I did not expect that my world would be rocked.

Chicago adventures!


All of this contributed to my biggest realization after Orientation: serving as an LV is SO much more than a job. This is a family, a way of life, a culture, a faith, a network, an opportunity to give back and give more of myself than I ever have before. I can’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world- I have a new support system made up of 41 LVs, five staff members, and hundreds of Lasallian Brothers and LV alumni, all in my corner- all there to help, challenge, and invest in me, and all rooting for me to succeed. I have a year to make a tangible impact on and difference in the world every single day by touching the minds and hearts of my students. I have a physical goal to work towards with the LV’s RUN Marathon in November. I have a way to grow in my faith more than I ever have, as part of a community that fosters that growth on a daily basis. I have the opportunity to become the person whom in my heart, I’ve always been, but haven’t fully accepted or shared with the world up to this point.

Shanae, my fellow Racine LV, getting ready for plenty of hugs!

I have never felt so blessed. In a time when I felt more loss, doubt, fear, and insecurity than ever, God gave me hope, faith, strength, and confidence. And hugs. A minimum of one a day, to be exact 😀 The love, support, and inspiration I have entered into- the most amazing, AMAZING people I have the chance to form relationships with- I am just so happy. I know my life has just become so much bigger than I could have ever imagined it.
And it feels like… heaven.

Katie Delaney, 12-13, John XXIII Educational Center, Racine, WI

By |August 17th, 2012|Categories: blog|Comments Off on Katie Delaney: And it feels like…

LVs Ride: The Documentary

By |August 5th, 2012|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on LVs Ride: The Documentary