Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Anthony Carbone: A Spirit of Love

CaxdDWfUcAEMefP (1)[1]On February 9, the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast Day of San Miguel Febres Cordero. San Miguel has touched the hearts of many through his short, yet profound message: “I must enter into all that I do with a spirit of love.” When you stop and think about it, this presents a somewhat daunting task. I must enter into all that I do with a spirit of love? Everything that I do? Even on the days when I got too little sleep? Or the days when those kids just don’t listen?

But therein lies the wisdom of San Miguel’s words. Maintaining a mindset of love is something that we all must do. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, to focus on the challenges and negative aspects of every day. Throughout this year I’ve felt burnt out, overwhelmed, and defeated.   I’ve harbored these feelings throughout the day, and it impacted my teaching. This is no way to work, or to live. The only way to change my experience is to change my attitude. While it may seem challenging, and while there are definitely days in my ministry that I feel everything but “love,” looking at things through that spirit of love is what is going to make a difference. This adjustment of attitude turns those sleepless nights spent planning and working into labors of love. It turns “those kids,” with all their frustrating behavior, into “my students,” young men of integrity with stories, gifts, and wisdom to share.

Anthony Carbone, 14-16, De La Salle Academy, Concord, CA

Anthony Carbone, 14-16, De La Salle Academy, Concord, CA

As proof of their wisdom, throughout the week Brother Lawrence Goyette, who lives and breathes that spirit of love, led our students through a reflection of where and how they see love at De La Salle Academy. Their responses were amazing. Every single student wrote at length about their experience. “When we pick our brothers up when they are down.” “When we help each other out on our homework.” “When my brothers support me and encourage me to do better.” “When our teachers help us to learn because they want us to have a good future.”

It’s amazing how easy it is to overlook the great things happening right in front of you. Everyone you meet, and everything you do, presents you with an opportunity to be inspired and changed for the better. You just have to choose to see it.

Anthony Carbone is a 2nd year LV serving at De La Salle Academy in Concord, California and is a 2014 graduate of La Salle University.

By |February 17th, 2016|Categories: blog, news + events|Comments Off on Anthony Carbone: A Spirit of Love

Samantha Hyland: Visible Angels

Samantha Hyland, 14-16, De Marillac Academy, San Francisco, CA

Samantha Hyland, 14-16, De Marillac Academy, San Francisco, CA

As I walk down the streets of the Tenderloin, I am confronted by my shocking surroundings. I hold my breath, keep my eyes down, and try to become invisible as I walk. Used needles, feces, and discarded clothing are the physical barriers. Homelessness, drug dealing/using, and prostitution are the societal barriers that I face on my walk to work. When I finally look up, I see students in uniforms, smiles a mile wide. They have arrived at their school, their safe haven. I walk inside the building, and I am greeted by the warmth of the people. Everyone that serves at De Marillac Academy is there for the purpose of faith, service, and community. No matter the role, everyone is here to help the students reach their full potential.

As I am about to walk up the stairs to my classroom, I am engaged by the bold words of, “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve,” the foundation of the Lasallian Mission. Starting with children at the age of nine, these students are exposed to the concept of serving others. They are deeply rooted in the values of compassion and gratitude. My students are the visible angels that this world needs.

I asked some of these visible angels to reflect upon the meaning of “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.” Their reflections are why I choose to serve as a Lasallian Volunteer and live out the Lasallian Mission.

“Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve,” the foundation of the Lasallian Mission.

“Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve,” the foundation of the Lasallian Mission.

A fifth grader wisely said, “You should serve others because it is the right thing to do, not because it makes you feel better.”

Another fifth grader reflected, “We serve our homeless neighbors by being kind to them. We can be a miracle for them.”

A sixth grader expressed, “We should all give the gifts we have received to serve others as faithful people of God’s grace.”

An incredible eighth grader said, “You enter to grow in knowledge and leave to serve others with God’s knowledge. When we enter as students the faculty serves us, and when we leave it is our chance to serve them.”

Another sage eighth grader reflected, “When we leave, we take the values and virtues we learned from school and take them to the world to show others what they can be and how to be their best. We need to be role models for others. We need to serve the communities who have served us.”

These students have taught me so much about how to be Lasallian. At such a young age, these students have developed the skill of perseverance. They display gratitude for what they have and are compassionate to those who have less. They understand that they need to be educated so that they may be the catalysts to help change their community. Technically speaking, the teacher is usually the role model for the students. But every day I come to school, my students become my role models, living out the Lasallian Mission in all that they do. These visible angels are the guiding light to a better word.

Samantha Hyland is a 2nd year LV serving at De Marillac Academy in San Francisco, California and is a 2014 graduate of La Salle University.

By |February 3rd, 2016|Categories: blog, news + events|Comments Off on Samantha Hyland: Visible Angels

February 2016: Martin Chavez

Martin Chavez

Ministry: San Miguel Middle School of Tulsa

College: Saint Mary’s College of California

What do you do? I’m a teacher, tutor, athletic director, coach, and breakfast server. At San Miguel, I’m known for making the “breakfast special”!

Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer?

I became a Lasallian Volunteer because of my experiences with the Christian Brothers at Saint Mary’s College of California. Studying at a liberal arts college exposed me to prolific writers: St. Augustine, Miguel de Cervantes, and William Shakespeare; but, also it introduced me to the Christian Brothers. Despite living in a lavish campus, the Christian Brothers practiced humbleness by living simply and dedicating their efforts to the well-being of their students. For example, as a first generation college student, money was tight and college was daunting. The Brothers, notwithstanding, took it upon themselves to help me even though I did not request it of them. Their simple actions taught me the importance of unsolicited charitable action and humility. I learned the purpose of helping others is not for personal gratification, rather it’s supposed to enrich your neighbor’s life. After graduation, I understood the obligation to teach other communities the lessons the Brothers imparted upon me.

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

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My favorite and most important role is to be an encouraging adult for my students. They regularly experience stressful situations and have a limited network for positive reinforcement. Thus, encouragement inspires hope for them and provides motivation to overcome their academic and personal obstacles. I accomplish this by respecting my students and implementing our Lasallian virtues and traditions. St. John Baptist de La Salle said, “The more loving you are to the young, the greater the effects will be of God’s grace”. Even though I have the best students, there are moments when they jeopardize the learning process. These are the moments, which potentially, can be a learning lesson and are tremendously impressionable upon them. Rather than yell and condemn their actions, it is beneficial to help them realize the other positive actions. Adapting this approach showed me the relationship between respect and encouragement. Being able to respect an individual is a form of encouragement. Practicing respect takes the form of understanding their perspective. Thus, these episodes encourage them to choose the correct action and reinforce our commitment to serving the students.

Give an example of a time when you knew you were making a difference.

I’ve been fortunate to observe success while working for my students. Earlier in the year, I wrote about my experience as a volleyball coach. Even after the last whistle, the season’s results continue to blossom. The volleyball memories became a source of inspiration and  motivation while uniting our community. My bond with the girls and their families strengthened after the season. I enjoy talking with their parents after school and reminiscing about the season while looking forward to the potential for the next season. The girls’ enthusiasm and unyielding attitude became contagious within the student body. As a result, this winter saw the revival of a basketball program for our young boys. I took pride in seeing the influence and impact our team had upon the San Miguel community.

Why would you recommeIMG_1609nd that a prospective donor contribute to Lasallian Volunteers?

Donating to the program is crucial in allowing us to serve at-risk communities and instill our Lasallian traditions. In addition to living with Christian Brothers, our program is unique because we engage with underrepresented communities and help them recognize God in themselves. As a middle school teacher, our program allows me to provide a rich foundation of inspiration and support for my students. De La Salle said, “Example makes a much greater impression on the minds and hearts of the young than do words. Young people…ordinarily model themselves on the example of their teachers. That your words may produce their full effect on your students, preach by example and practice what you wish them to accept.” Each donation presents current and future volunteers with opportunities to share our talents with students and communities. Your donation encourages students to pursue education and their dreams.

By |February 1st, 2016|Categories: lv of the month, news + events|Comments Off on February 2016: Martin Chavez