Monthly Archives: March 2015


Molly B. Allen: Coach Jam

Allen-Image-BlogWith March Madness in full swing, I thought that it would be fitting to write about my basketball girls and one of my mentors. Anyone who knows about my first year as a Lasallian Volunteer can probably tell you about how much I love to talk about my girls. Last year, I was the assistant coach for the girls freshmen basketball squad at DeLaSalle. This past season, I was promoted to assistant coach for the JV squad, and I was named academic support coordinator for the whole girls basketball program. Needless to say, I definitely had my hands full this season. Although there were times I wanted to throw in the towel and just go back to a normal schedule and having a social life, I was reminded by my fellow coach and mentor, Coach Jam, that the girls are not just learning valuable skills that they need on the court, but they are learning skills that they will need down the road.

Last season I worked with a coach who became one of the best mentors that I have had during my time here in Minneapolis. Coach Jam was the head coach of the freshmen squad last year, and she was the head coach of the JV squad this season. Coach Jam stands at about 5’4” and is as sassy as they come. She is a fabulous coach, knows how to balance seriousness and humor, loves the game, and has a genuine love and passion for watching her players not only grow as a basketball players, but as young women. Many of the girls refer to her as a second mom, and they talk about how much they appreciate everything she does for them.

She touched base with me earlier in the school year and asked if I would be interested in being her assistant for the JV team and also working as the academic support coordinator. I was ecstatic that she asked me to be her assistant, and I accepted both positions. We held tryouts, named our squads, and hit the floor running. We had a few girls from last season return to the team, so we had a somewhat solid foundation to start with. There were many times when Coach Jam and I would just give each other “the look” and we would know exactly what the other was thinking. Having that chemistry with her made coaching that much easier and entertaining.

Molly Allen, 13-15, DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis, MN

Molly Allen, 13-15, DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis, MN

Being the academic support coordinator was not easy to do. I did weekly grade checks and reports on all 42 players throughout the program. I would be in constant communication with the players, coaches and parents and made sure that the girls were being held accountable. There were days when the girls would be a tad bit more confrontational and a little bit more spirited in their discussions and/or explanations on why there grades were the way they were, and I would email Coach Jam for advice. Being a mother of a senior at DeLaSalle and working at a school herself, her advice was a lifesaver for me. There are times when I forget that I am not a kid anymore and I have to act and respond like an adult.

This season presented us with quite the array of problems. The academics were a little rough, especially with our younger girls, we lost the first eight games in a row, girls weren’t showing up to practice, we didn’t have a solid roster, and the list goes on. I cannot tell you how many times Coach Jam and I talked on the phone about what we could do to help the girls with their game and with their schoolwork. Her philosophy is that we are not just a team, we are a family. We are sisters and we need to look out for one another both on and off the court. That is the main reason why I loved coaching with her. She was not solely concerned about the score and the team’s stats, she wanted to make sure that the girls were learning lessons that they could take with them off the court and through life. As the season progressed, girls actually came to practices and we started putting some points up on the board; the team grew closer together. The girls were having fun during practices and were learning to love the game and the team. They learned that the game wasn’t about their personal success, but the success of their teammates and the team as a whole. Many times Coach Jam would start practice and she would impart some words of wisdom onto the girls and constantly reminded them that they were loved and that they were so much more than the numbers on their backs and on the scoreboard.

Working with Coach Jam these past two seasons has been such a blessing and an honor. Through our various adventures together, she always reminded that we cannot do things in life alone, we need the support of others. Coach also reinforced how much teachers and coaches care about the success of the kids entrusted to their care. Parents trust teachers and coaches with their children, and it is our job to help make them the best people that they can be. She is one of the best mentors that I have had, and I hope to continue working and coaching with her if I decide to stay in the Twin Cities area after my second year is up.

Molly B. Allen is a 2nd year volunteer serving at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a 2013 graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California.

By |March 25th, 2015|Categories: blog, news + events|Comments Off on Molly B. Allen: Coach Jam

4th Annual Brother Brian’s Basketball Brackets

Greetings All of the Lasallian Community,brackets

Longer days thanks to moving to Day Light Savings Time, higher normal temperatures, and snow melting all means it is time for March Madness!  Selection Sunday begins the Fourth Annual Brother Brian’s Basketball Bracket (Quadruple B) Tournament!  I along with the Lasallian Volunteers Alumni Association hope you will participate this year and invite a friend to join in on the fun of picks and catching up with members of the Lasallian Community.  Last year John Dellipriscoli, LV 09-11, was our tournament winner.  Congratulations John, but now we will see if you can put a streak together as you join the rest of us as a member of the hopeful pack!

Returning participants from previous years can easily join by clicking the link below and logging in with your credentials.  New participants can join the bracket selection and tracking process by following these easy steps:

  1. Navigate to our group page:
  2. If you have a fantasy account, you will login with your personal name/password.  If you do not have an account, you need to create a free account following the on-screen instructions.
  3. If you participated last year, you will already be a member of our group; if you have not participated, you will have to join our group using the password “BrianHenderson” (no quotation marks and no space between Brian and Henderson).
  4. From there you just have to enter your picks, and they are already available.  You may fill up to three separate brackets.  Listed on the group page are scoring and other rules.

This group is password protected, but anyone that gets the password is welcome to participate.  This is completely FREE, and just for FUN!

When you choose to participate in the bracket challenge, you are choosing to continue to (re)connect with the LV program, and fellow alums around the country.  Whether you pick the teams based on science, colors, mascots, or pure randomness we want you to join in on the fun of friendly online competition and friendship conversation!  May the best (or luckiest) bracketologist win but moreover may we all enjoy the reconnection opportunity!

Feel free to pass this along to friends, family, and others.  You know us Lasallians all good fun folks are welcomed!  Chime in on the message board and social media to cheer for you team, your bracket, as well as the brackets of your friends.  Introduce yourself on the message board and meet some alums that you have never met before.  Maybe you will meet someone that lives very close to you!

This year we would like to hear about people branching out and hosting watch parties with nearby friends.

Best of luck to all with the 2015 BB-Basketball Bracket March Madness,

BBH with Scott Baietti, LV 08-10, as the technological brains behind this!


By |March 11th, 2015|Categories: news + events|Comments Off on 4th Annual Brother Brian’s Basketball Brackets

Kyle Garesche: West is Best.

WestisBestMy time as a second year Lasallian Volunteer (LV) has been distinctly marked with incredible relationships; relationships that range from the LV staff, my fellow LVs, and last but not least my students, who I love so dearly, at West Catholic Preparatory High School, located in University City, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Making the move from the Midwest District to the District of Eastern North America was (and still is) extremely exciting for me. The service opportunity made available to me was to teach sophomore U.S. government, while working directly with Lasallian Youth Club, among many other positions at West Catholic. I told myself that this was too good to be true. That somehow, landing a dream job in an incredible city was some sort of sick joke from Jolleen (director of the LV Program) that was going to be yanked out from underneath me at any second. Seeing as I’m still here in Philadelphia, I will make the best of it, just in case Jolleen is indeed playing some sort of sick and twisted joke on me.

Kyle Garesche, 13-15, West Catholic Preparatory High School, Philadelphia, PA

Kyle Garesche, 13-15, West Catholic Preparatory High School, Philadelphia, PA

My time in my government classroom has been practically indescribable. From genuine teaching moments, to one student busting out the dance move from the 2004 movie “You Got Served” after he answered a question correctly; needless to say, there has never been a dull moment. But perhaps never having dull moment in a government class from the teacher’s point of view and the student’s point of view looks a lot differently. No, scratch that, it absolutely looks differently. I find excitement in my classroom when a student asks a genuine question, when someone does all their work for the first time all year, when the student who almost never goes out of his way to ask for help finally does, and most importantly, I find excitement when a student walks out of my classroom saying something like: “Mr. G, you know I appreciate you, right?” Or, “You let us be ourselves and that means a lot. We don’t have to act like something we’re not when we’re around you.”

Whereas their excitement, I’m sure, lies in getting me to laugh at their ridiculous jokes or comments, not having homework on the weekend, or trying to get the whole class to have a sing off when there’s a minute left of class.

I have come to the conclusion that I’ve hit this point in my life where I’m finally keeping my head above water. I was drowning last year, for one reason or another. De La Salle Blackfeet School in Browning, Montana, was trial by error on a daily basis for me, and I came away with a countless amount of confidence after my time there. But what I’ve brought into my classroom this year is a new philosophy on education. My philosophy is this (for you veteran teachers, I’m sure you’ll laugh at this, since you’ve probably known this for quite some time now): Show your students that you care, draw a firm line between work and play, rarely raise your voice, and most of all show them respect at every opportunity. My students have pushed me to the edge a few times this year, but my respect for them has never faltered, and they recognize that. They recognize that I genuinely care for their well-being, they thrive off of not disappointing me, and they love being rewarded for their hard work. My students are incredible; they constantly inspire me and make me want to work harder for them each day. They show me they care, they (attempt) at drawing a line between work and play, they rarely raise their voice at me, and they show me respect at every opportunity. It pains me to be this cliché, truly, but they’ve taught me more this year than I can possibly quantify. My only hope is that I have returned the favor.

Kyle Garesche is a 2nd year LV serving at West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia, PA. Kyle graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2013.

By |March 11th, 2015|Categories: blog, news + events|1 Comment

March 2015: Monique Cruz

Service Site: Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis, MN

Monique Cruz

Monique Cruz

University: Lewis University

What do you do?

I am a campus minister, writing lab coordinator, girls volleyball coach, and girls basketball coach.

What is a way you have been changed by a relationship you’ve had in your volunteer experience?

In my volunteer experience, I have been given the opportunity to build a relationship with my Campus Ministry Coordinator and professional mentor, Colleen Smith. Working with Mrs. Smith has been a blessing and has offered great support to me as a Lasallian Volunteer in my community. By working with with Mrs. Smith, I have seen myself grow and change into a person I wish to be. In admiring the way she interacts with the students with such care and love, I have learned to value each student and to be a mentor, an opening ear, to any student who passes through the office. From this I have gained great respectful relationships with students, something I thought I would struggle with. Along with growing into a mentor, Mrs. Smith is teaching me to be a force by providing for me different opportunities to lead. With her being the mega force she supports and offers to students various activities that take time and work.

Monique and Mrs. Smith

Monique and Mrs. Smith

Through all our activities that take place, we never truly know what to expect and what the day has in store for us in Campus Ministry. Sometimes it gets chaotic, but the best thing is that Mrs. Smith does all things, chaotic or not, with great patience and laughter. Through this, I have learned how to be flexible in jumping from one activity to the next with success and laughter in mind. So with great relationships and smiles, I am thankful to be a part of Lasallian Volunteers and to have been impacted by Mrs. Smith.

How has your involvement with the De La Salle Christian Brothers affected you?

I consider myself lucky to be given the opportunity to experience living with five Brothers. It makes being a Lasallian Volunteer that much better. Each of the Brothers I live with have very different personalities, but they are all alike in that they put their most care and support to all four young LVs in the community. Recognizing and knowing that I have their support has given me more motivation to continue to strive and serve to the best of my abilities. Sharing dinner and prayer together is also something to look forward to. Their sense of humor at the dinner table and their dedication and openness to different styles of prayer shared in the community, makes coming home after long day relaxing. Overall, living with the Brothers has given me a chance to listen and learn their journeys dedicating one’s life to the world of education and faith, something that I wish to fulfill in my life.

Coach Cruz

Coach Cruz

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

The core value of service is important to me. Growing up I was taught the importance of giving a helping hand to those around me. It is a gift to be able to serve others. So many opportunities have been given to me, and I am lucky enough to be given the chance to share what I have to my communities and to my world. The core value of service and specifically service through education is the reason why I decided to be a Lasallian Volunteer. I have been blessed with a great catholic education from grammar school to college. With my blessings and experiences in gaining a great education, I desire to take a step back and serve those in need of receiving an education. Education is an important tool in life and it brings me great joy knowing that through serving as a Lasallian Volunteer I am making an impact.

How would you like to continue your involvement with the Lasallian family after your time with Lasallian Volunteers?

Minneapolis LVs

Minneapolis LVs

Lasallian Volunteers is a family that one would not want to walk away from. After my time of serving as a Lasallian Volunteer, I wish to be an active alum and mentor to future Lasallian Volunteers. I have been given such a great welcome and support from LV alums, and I would like to return the favor in the future. I also would like to contribute to the work done on retreats for Lasallian Volunteers, since that too offers great support.

By |March 1st, 2015|Categories: featured, lv of the month, news + events|Comments Off on March 2015: Monique Cruz