College: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
What do you do?
I serve as an Instructional Assistant for 1st and 2nd grade, and I help out with the After School Program.
Have you noticed any signs of success in your work?
I recently started doing reading and phonic interventions with elementary scholars. I was paired with a student who had just transferred to Catalyst Maria. We would sit down and work on CVC words three times a week. This scholar struggled with blending his letters together to form a word. He often became discouraged after constant trial and error. This would ultimately challenge his confidence, leading him to shut down during our sessions.
New to interventions, I decided to ask around for different methods. A teacher advised me to break the word down on my arm. The next time we worked together I tried it out. The word was “cat.” Together we broke the word down and blended it down our arms. “CA-CA…AH-AH…TAH-TAH… CA..AH..TAH …CA-AH-TAH.” We tried this breakdown multiple times. Then, without a beat, I could see a breakthrough in his eyes as he shouted out, “… GOAT.” Now I know you’re thinking that’s pretty far off from the word “cat.” However, for the first time working together that scholar was confident. I’d say success doesn’t get better than that. It’s the small victories that lead us to the great ones. Since his recent growth of confidence he has aced the word “cat” and many other CVC words.
Which LV core values are most important to you?
What essentially lured me into this program was community. A large portion of my education was served at Lasallian institutions. Both places (high school and college) stressed the importance of your community. There is something powerful about having individuals link up in supporting the mission of De La Salle.
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?
Time hopping ahead I know I will be reflecting about how much I grew during this year as a Lasallian Volunteer. In just a few short months I have been graced with powerful experiences and interactions. I realized early on that I had to keep up with an open-mind and be willing to adapt. Working in a classroom setting means your constantly ready for impromptu situations.
I also used this year to focus on personal reflection. “How am I growing in faith, community, and service?” “Am I challenging myself and my students” And one of the most important questions I ask myself, “where am I struggling?” I had to realize that there were days where I would struggle, but ultimately that was okay! It was these situations that allowed me to grow the most. Plus, one of the greatest perks of being a Lasallian Volunteer is your recourses. I could ask for help from my community, service, Brothers, the main office, other volunteers, or my assigned mentors. This is a community that definitely has your back!
Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?
If you’re a college senior considering volunteering, this is the ultimate post grad option. You spend a year embracing a new neighborhood, living in community, diving into service, and partying with the Brothers as they bestow their wisdom. What’s better than that?
And although the program is education based, it is certainly not limited to education majors. I graduated as a theatre major and was unsure of how I would fulfill a role in the program. TheLV Staff works with you in discovering your strengths, weaknesses, talents, etc. This allows them to properly place you where you can thrive. Working in the classroom I can see my major come into play every day.
I strongly encourage those seeking their vocation post-graduation to consider Lasallian Volunteers!
On October 31st, 38 Lasallian Volunteers (LVs), two parents of LVs, four Brothers and 15 family & friends participated in the 10th annual LVs Run at Firefighter’s Field on Roosevelt Island, in New York City. This event raised over $70,000, and donations are still being received.
In 2005, Lasallian Volunteer Adriana Rodriguez ran the New York City Marathon and the tradition began. Over the past ten years, countless numbers of Lasallian Volunteers have participated in LVs Run and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their experience as LVs and the ministries they serve.
Reflecting on her experience, current LV Bridget Kennedy wrote, “Thirty-eight LVs spent the weekend at the Bedford Park community in the Bronx. We ran together and cheered each other on. We shared meals together. We strengthened our family. Yes, we call it the LVs Run weekend, but it is much more than that. It is a time to reconnect with your fellow LVs and learn about their experience so far. It is a time to meet alumni and discover why they served as LVs in the past. It is a time to travel to a new place (for some LVs, it was their first time in NYC). It is a weekend filled with faith, service and community.”
In addition to the actual run, on Saturday afternoon the participants spent time together at a post-race luncheon at Serviam Gardens, an LV ministry, and then attended Mass together at St. Philip of Neri, both in the Bronx. The 2015 committee was comprised of: Bridget Kennedy, Dan O’Connell, Dan Bowers, Matt Billings, Liz DiPlacido, and David Anderson.
I don’t enjoy running. Actually, I HATE running. I would much rather ride a bike, swim, or even simply walk if I had the choice. So when I signed up for the LVs Run, I asked myself why? Why sign up for something I dread doing? Why volunteer to have bi-weekly phone calls to plan for a run? Why fundraise? Because it’s not just a run.
Thirty-eight LVs spent the weekend at the Bedford Park community in the Bronx. We ran together and cheered each other on. We shared meals together. We strengthened our family. Yes, we call it the LVs Run weekend and there is a 5k and 10k involved, but it is much more than that. It is a time to reconnect with your fellow LVs and learn about their experience so far. It is a time to meet alumni and discover why they served as LVs in the past. It is a time to travel to a new place (for some LVs, it was their first time in NYC). It is a weekend filled with faith, service and community.
Faith, service and community: the three most important words associated with being an LV. These core values are always apparent during Lasallian events, especially during the run weekend.
Faith: During the run, I put a lot of faith in God. Praying with every breath I took that I would finish this race alive. I know what you are thinking, “Bridget, it was just a 5k.” Let me tell you again, I don’t like to run, ever. So I needed those prayers. However, this is not the only faith aspect of the weekend. When LVs come together, we always make time for prayer. Whether it be before meals, at Mass, or during physical activity, we make time to pray and thank God for the opportunities we have and the people in our lives.
Service: When you become a volunteer, the word “no” seems to escape your vocabulary. We all have our service assignments, but that is just never enough for our service enthused group. A few of us volunteered to form a committee where we had bi-weekly phone calls to plan the run weekend. At the run, LVs volunteered to give out food and water and cheer on the runners. LV Alums volunteered their time to cook for over 60 people! Even as a LV alumni, you still volunteer.
Community: It is difficult for me to describe to outsiders the type of community that is formed when you become an LV. It is a weird but amazing bond that only your cohort understands. Even though it had been three months since I had seen my fellow LVs, and in reality had only known some of them for ten days, there was no hesitation to hug, joke, laugh, and just talk with them. Lasallian Volunteers also always open their community to family and friends. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and friends joined us for a weekend together. A special shout out to my mom for traveling up to NYC and running her first 5k with me!
So, although we all traveled to run a 5k or 10k; to run our personal best time or just finish the race; our main reason to come together was for faith, service and community.
Bridget Kennedy is a second year LV serving at De La Salle Elementary at Blessed Sacrament in Memphis, TN. She is a graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.