Monthly Archives: April 2015

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Andrea Guyton: Let Us Remember

letusremember[1]

It’s safe to say that as Lasallian Volunteers, each of us feel called to serve and want to make a significant difference in the lives around us. At Tides Family Services, the mission is centered around making that difference in the lives of at-risk children and their families.

In Rhode Island, 21.5% of children live in poverty[1]  – that means on average, one out of every five kids lives in poverty. We all come from different walks of life, and many of us can’t say that we grew up in poverty or in a household where the adult(s) had to choose between paying utilities and buying food. We take lunch breaks, we eat dinner as communities, but do we pause to be thankful and pray for those who don’t know where their next meal will come from?

Crying hysterically, one client that I interacted with this past week reached out for support. I picked her up from home and took her out for a meal and conversation. She opened up to me about being bullied, harassed, lied to and abused. After our hour-long conversation, I praised her for seeking help in a positive way versus harming herself, which she had done in the past. What she needed that day was someone to listen to her, empathize with her, and not judge her.

The families that I work with don’t necessarily have the strong ties that many of us are familiar with. Many of our kids don’t have a strong support system that can make sure they get to school daily and on time, have clothes for the harsh winters or humid summers, or even  enroll them in extra curricular activities on weekends and during summer vacations.

Andrea Guyton, 14-15, Tides Family Services, Providence, Rhode Island

Andrea Guyton, 14-15, Tides Family Services, Providence, Rhode Island

During the service year, LVs have various opportunities to connect with one another and reunite. We introduce ourselves at Orientation, we fill each other in on how we’ve been doing at Midyear Retreat, and we say our see-you-laters at Debriefing. With such strong bonds with one another, we link up for different holidays such as Labor Day and Thanksgiving, we exercise together at the LVs Run, and we celebrate each other’s birthdays and personal victories as much as travel time will allow. We have literally formed a family away from our individual families.

Let us all remember to be thankful for our blessings, great and small, and to continue to pray for those who are searching the world for a void that only God can truly fill.

Each of us has so much to be thankful for, and I hope that we never forget to be appreciative and humble human beings.


[1] Richard Salit, ” One in five children in R.I. living in poverty, Kids Count report says,” Providence Journal, Jan. 21, 2015, http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20150121-one-in-five-children-in-r.i.-living-in-poverty-kids-count-report-says.ece

Andrea Guyton is a first year LV serving at Tides Family Services. She is a 2014 graduate of Christian Brothers University.

By |April 23rd, 2015|Categories: blog, news + events|1 Comment

April 2015: Dan Bowers

Service Site: San Miguel School, Chicago

Dan Bowers

Dan Bowers

University: La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA.

What do you do?

At San Miguel I am an 8th grade Math, Science, and Reading teacher, and I Co-Teach 6th grade Math.  I coach 7th and 8th grade co-ed soccer, 6th grade girls’ basketball, and 7th and 8th grade girls’ softball.

What is the most important “thing,” do you think, that your students need from you? 

The most important thing that I believe my students need from me is my presence and just being there for them.  The students at San Miguel come from a place where they might not always have someone paying attention to what they are doing, or being able to support them fully.

Field Trip to Millennium Park

Field Trip to Millennium Park

As a staff member at San Miguel, the students are my number one priority and I make sure every single day to acknowledge their presence in my class, at lunch, or even on the field.  Whether it is making sure I call on every student during science class, playing dodgeball against my class at recess, or even staying late to attend games for teams I am not coaching, I try my best to make sure my students know that I care about each and every one of them.  I want nothing more at the end of my volunteer year than to see all my students succeed.  The best way to see that success through is by being there to encourage and be present for them the entire journey.

Was there a moment when you felt accepted by your students?

San Miguel does an amazing job at providing students a chance to leave the classroom and go on different trips to grow in community with their teachers and one another.  In October, I along with three other staff members and the 8th grade class went to Camp Gray, a catholic camp for kids, in Wisconsin.  We stayed for three days and two nights and did various group bonding activities.  I was very excited for this trip because I was curious to see the students outside the classroom and eager to bond with them on a different level.

At Camp Gray I felt like I was a different “Mr. Bowers.” I got to be myself and let my

Coach Dan with the San Miguel Soccer Team

Coach Dan with the San Miguel Soccer Team

teacher guard down and really just have fun with my students.  The moment I felt most accepted by them was when it was my turn to climb the rock wall.  I have never ever enjoyed climbing rock walls–they hurt and I usually never make it to the top–but by the encouragement of my students I said I would give it a try.  As I started to climb, I came to the realization that this whole getting to the top of the wall was not going to happen.  After I stopped a few times and slipped a couple of times I was about to quit.  However, the whole class started to cheer for me and encourage me to keep going.  They continued to yell at me from down below and told me, “You didn’t let us quit you better keep going.”  At that moment I realized that they were right.  I realized that they were accepting me as not just their teacher but as someone in their life they need to look up to.  I was not about to just “quit” on them.  So, I climbed to the top of that rock wall, rang the bell, came down and thanked every single student for believing in me because it was their acceptance and their encouragement that made me realize I truly was a part of their San Miguel family.

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?

If I could get in a time machine and move forward a couple years and look back on my time thus far as a Lasallian Volunteer all I would be able to do is thank God for such a unique opportunity.  The opportunity to pause my life where it was and serve a population I would probably not have even come in contact with is tremendous.  Being a Lasallian Volunteer has slowed my life down drastically over the past 7 months and helped me to realize not only who I am now but also whom I want to become moving forward.

Community Costume Party

Community Costume Party

From every Let Us Remember, to every Live Jesus in Our Hearts, serving in a Lasallian school and living in a Lasallian community has helped me to realize my true passion in life.  My passion is being Lasallian.  Although I have always thought this, the year of service has made me more sure than I ever could have been a year ago.  Because I have been a Lasallian Volunteer my life truly has been changed for the better.

What would you say to a friend from home who questioned why you chose to live with the Brothers?

After being taught by the Christian Brothers for 8 years, the best answer I could give to why I would chose to live with the Christian Brothers is, “why not?”  I have always looked at the Christian Brothers as extended family members who just love to joke around and have a good time.  However, for as much fun as they like to have they also have even more wisdom and advice to offer.  Living in community with the brothers this year has given me not only more laughs than I could have ever imagined, but also more advice and wisdom than I would have ever expected in a year of service.

By |April 1st, 2015|Categories: featured, lv of the month, news + events|2 Comments