Monthly Archives: June 2015

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Maddie Hodapp: In the Right Place at the Right Time

Maddie Hodapp, 14-15, De La Salle North Catholic, Portland, OR

Maddie Hodapp, 14-15, De La Salle North Catholic, Portland, OR

When I was just a baby, my mother started working at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Growing up with a religion teacher and Campus Minister as a mother in a Lasallian high school, I was born to be a Lasallian…literally. With how close my mother and I are, my fate was chosen for me. Due to her involvement with Campus Ministry/Lasallian Ministry, I became lucky enough to be involved in the Midwest Lasallian Youth trips before I even attended high school. I was also a part of other service opportunities offered by the Campus Ministry office. Some of them included buying Christmas gifts for the families that DLS adopted during the holiday season and also being involved, at 8 years-old, with the first prom held at DeLaSalle for people living with disabilities. Point being, I was highly involved in serving others and I didn’t even realize that I was doing it because it was always fun, rewarding and what I grew up doing. It became natural and was something that is a part of who I am and what I wanted to continue to do as I got older. So, it was a no brainer that I was going to be a Lasallian Volunteer.

Due to my history, one would assume that I probably was going to have an easy-going year and that being a Lasallian Volunteer (LV) was going to come easy for me. Well, some parts did and others didn’t. As I begin to finish up my first year as an LV at De La Salle North Catholic High School (DLSNC) in Portland, Oregon I find myself realizing that it is getting harder and harder to imagine my life away from this school and my students. However, if someone were to ask me if I thought I would feel this disappointed about leaving a few months ago, I wouldn’t have had this reaction. As an introvert who didn’t even realize she was an introvert until this year, it became apparent that I needed to do something that would cause me to step out of my comfort zone in order for me to develop better relationships with students. I was experiencing a lack of interaction with students through my position. My main job at DLSNC is being an associate of our Corporate Internship Program where each and every one of our students goes to work once a week. This experience is very enriching for our students as they are receiving a college prep education and also participating in the corporate world.  For me, it felt good to be a part of finding them jobs that would benefit them most based on their skills. This position, though helpful professionally for me, didn’t allow me to really establish raw and authentic relationships with the students which was something that I knew I wanted when I started this program. I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t doing what I was sent to Portland to do and started feeling doubtful. I needed to change so I took the initiative to create something that was missing and would hopefully help build something vital for the community and to create these relationships that weren’t there in the beginning.

Charcoal Drawing by a current student at De La Salle North Catholic

Charcoal Drawing by a current student at De La Salle North Catholic

In September when I first walked into the school, there wasn’t any art work on the walls, performing arts was non-existent and there wasn’t anything that showed school spirit or student talent. I talked to the principal at my school a month or two into my service year and made a proposal to create an art club.  Mind you, I never had an art class in high school or college or art experience in general except for the fact that I am highly appreciative of the arts. I did however, have experience in developing programs and being a part of clubs. So I found it fitting to combine my experience of being a part of clubs and the hidden talents of these students together so that we could create something beautiful, and we did. Teachers and students were touched by what they were seeing. The students’ art began to fill the halls and are currently working their magic on the walls of the Lasallian Youth Ministry office with a mural they designed themselves.

The moment when my art club participants started showing me that they were capable of coming up with ideas for our meetings and inviting guests in to teach them different skills, I began to really feel one with the community and my service. This is also where I found the true beauty of being a volunteer. You are expected to bring something to the table. Your talents and gifts are needed and encouraged to be exposed. When you are given the freedom to do that, you feel grateful for not only having the chance to build on your skills but also seeing your skills used for the betterment of young people you are serving. I created the foundation for students to express themselves and they did the rest. The next semester came with a whole new arts curriculum with a photography class, choir class, and an art class. I can’t help but to think that the art club initiated that.

Maddie at DeLaSalle's First Starry Night Prom

Maddie at DeLaSalle’s First Starry Night Prom

Stepping up to create the art club not only helped me develop relationships with students and give them a space to be themselves but it also showed me that I was in the right place at the right time. Despite my doubts at the beginning, being a part of this program was the right decision. St. John Baptist de La Salle once said, “May God continue what He has begun in you”. As I continue to let my Lasallian identity grow and flourish in me, I hope that as I leave Portland, my art club will be able to continue to let their talents touch the De La Salle North Catholic community.

Maddie Hodapp is a 1st year LV serving at De La Salle North Catholic in Portland, Oregon. She is a graduate of University of Saint Thomas and DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis.

By |June 10th, 2015|Categories: blog, news + events|Comments Off on Maddie Hodapp: In the Right Place at the Right Time

LVs Celebrate Service at Retreat

group_bestThe Lasallian Volunteers (LVs) gathered to celebrate and reflect on their year of service during the annual Debriefing Retreat May 21-24, 2015.

“Debriefing was a great time to reflect with my fellow LVs on the ups and downs of the past year while looking forward to what’s on the horizon,” said Jeff Petroski, 2nd year LV serving at St. Peter’s High School on Staten Island.

The retreat was themed Your LV Mask & Masquerade. Thirty-eight LVs gathered at La Salle Manor in Plano, Illinois, and reflected on their experiences through a lens of wearing many masks throughout their year.

Brother Brian Henderson, FSC, facilitated the retreat, his 15th and final LV Debriefing Retreat. On Saturday night, retreat participants, families, friends, Brothers and alums of the program gathered for Mass, social and dinner to celebrate Bro. Brian. Those gathered for the occasion shared about Bro. Brian’s unwavering support and dedication to the Lasallian Volunteers and the Debriefing Retreat. LV staff and alums said farewell to Bro. Brian with a joyful reflection highlighting the 15 themes that gave each retreat its own experience.

Watch the Br. Brian tribute video >

The retreat consisted of small group breakout sessions, large group activities, sessions based on transitions, plenty of relaxation time, and a commissioning ceremony honoring those who have served in the 2014-2015 cohort.

“Debriefing is a weekend filled with reflection, love, fun, laughter and friends. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my service year with an amazing group of people,” said Bridget Kennedy, 1st year LV serving at De La Salle Middle School at St. Matt’s in Saint Louis, Missouri.

At the end of the weekend, 19 LVs were commissioned to become members of the 2015-2016 cohort, in preparation to serve their 2nd year.

See Pictures>

By |June 1st, 2015|Categories: news + events|Comments Off on LVs Celebrate Service at Retreat

Summer 2015: Jeff Petroski

Service Site: St. Peter’s Boys High School, Staten Island, NY

Jeff Petroski, 13-15, St. Peter's Boys High School, Staten Island, NY

Jeff Petroski, 13-15

College: Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD

What do you do?

I work as a campus minister, teaching assistant, I teach a Latin II class, and I am an assistant coach for our Ice Hockey program.

Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer?

I chose to become a Lasallian Volunteer because I was looking to do something meaningful after college that would also put me in a good place to discern my vocation. It helped that my sister Clare (04-06) and my cousin Kevin (08-10) both had very good experiences with the program, and it was easy to see how it changed them for the better.

My hopes for my service have been realized. The last two years have allowed me to grow personally, spiritually, and professionally. It is easy to see how the three core values of faith, service, and community have changed me for the better. My experience as a volunteer has helped me to grow in my faith and discern the seminary for the Diocese of Arlington.

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

eff with Brothers and Priests of St. Peter's

Jeff with Brothers and Priests of St. Peter’s

My involvement with the Brothers has impacted me for the better in a few aspects. Living with Christian Brothers has allowed me to grow in my faith through their commitment to education. Participating in prayer and community life with them provides an insight into the Lasallian charism that cannot be seen without the Brothers.

They have also challenged me to go beyond my own comfort zone. While this is a hallmark of Lasallian Volunteers itself, living with consecrated Brothers has provided a more genuine idea of what it means to dedicate your life and serve others through the example of St. John Baptist de La Salle. While I have not discerned a vocation to the De La Salle Christian Brothers, it has allowed me to see what it is like to dedicate your life to Christ and the Church.

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

The most important “thing” that my students need from me is for me to be a role model. Anyone can design a prayer service, teach a lesson, or coach a sports team. What has occurred to me over the last year is that it is far more important that I provide an example of what it is to live and act like a Catholic in today’s world. To be a genuine and authentic example of what it means to be a young Catholic man is by far the thing my students need from me the most.

Coaching Hockey

Coaching Hockey

I try to provide this by challenging myself to be better every day with the support of the Brothers and my coworkers. All the little things–especially in how I act and in how I speak is–the students will remember the most. It is not very easy in today’s world to stand up and be Catholic, but I want to show them it is possible and you can be completely joyful while doing it.

Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?

I would recommend Lasallian Volunteers to any college senior because there might not be a better time in your life than now to serve others for a year or two. Not only are you helping others, but you often find what truly makes you happy. The LV experience is a journey of helping others and discovering yourself in the process. I would recommend the LV program over other volunteer programs because it is a faith based program with an incredibly strong support structure in place. No matter how your volunteer experience turns out it is a win-win.

By |June 1st, 2015|Categories: featured, lv of the month, news + events, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Summer 2015: Jeff Petroski