Monthly Archives: February 2017

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Lasallian Volunteers Receive Funding for Student Loan Payments

For the 2017-2018 service year, Lasallian Volunteers (LV) have been awarded $100,000 to assist with student loan payments after the completion of a successful year as a Lasallian Volunteer. As a means to address low recruitment numbers since the loss of AmeriCorps, which previously awarded educational grants to volunteers at the completion of a service year, funding has been made available to increase student loan support to those interested in serving as an LV.

The St. Solomon Fund is named in honor of St. Solomon Le Clercq, FSC, and the work he did for the Lasallian mission during his time. St. Solomon, a martyr of the French Revolution, was canonized October 16, 2016. He was the first Brother of the Christian Schools to be martyred, and the first to be beatified. This fund enables Lasallian Volunteers to recruit qualified post-graduate students who are interested in serving the Lasallian mission and exploring their vocation as an educator while living in community.

Criteria

Lasallian Volunteers will offer an educational grant to those who complete a full year of service during the 2017-2018 service year. Volunteers who complete a year of service successfully will be eligible to apply for and receive an educational grant in the amount of up to $2,000:

  1. Upon successful completion of their LV service year, an LV will receive an educational grant.
  2. An LV must provide a letter from lender showing student loan debt. The fund will be used to pay existing student loans.
  3. Requests to receive this educational grant must be received by the LV office by May 1, 2018.

Questions?

Please contact:
Kathleen Swain
Director
Lasallian Volunteers
202-529-0047 x122
kswain@cbconf.org

 

By |February 23rd, 2017|Categories: news + events|Comments Off on Lasallian Volunteers Receive Funding for Student Loan Payments

Jacquie Martin: Sharing Our Home

Jacquie Martin, 15-17, Serviam Gardens, Bronx, NY

Jacquie Martin, 15-17, Serviam Gardens, Bronx, NY

The Bedford Park Lasallian Community in the Bronx, New York, has a reputation for hospitality. There is a quote on our dining room wall that reads, “What we love most about our home is who we share it with.” This mantra has been given new life and meaning with our decision to host a Syrian refugee in our community this year.

Jamal and his caseworker, Hadiya, from the International Rescue Committee, visited our community for dinner in December 2016 and shared some of his story with us. He is Lebanese, and was living in Syria near the border of Lebanon. Jamal worked in real estate back in Syria, and owned property that he rented out. He told us how his hometown was destroyed in the war, and it now looks the same as Aleppo. His son made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea twice, and is now living in France. His daughter was able to flee the violence as well, and now lives in Germany. Jamal was granted asylum status in the United States and has been here for a few years. He had been living in Brooklyn, staying with different friends, but had no place of his own. That evening after dinner he decided that our community would be a good fit for him, and that weekend he moved into our home.

Jacquie

Jamal, Jacquie, Br. Ed, Br. Joe, Br. Bill, Matt and Mari

Jamal is a warm and joyful presence in our community. He often participates in community prayer and dinner. He has cooked Lebanese food for community dinner and is always making tabbouleh to share. He recently started taking intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) classes during the week, and everyone has been helping him practice around the dinner table. Matt found a creative way to better include Jamal in prayer by having him read the Gospel passage in Arabic. He has invited us to join him in attending services at the Arabic-speaking Christian church he attends in Brooklyn. We recently learned that he writes poetry in Arabic and he shared some of his work with us. His presence in our community has made all of us more intentionally inclusive.

Before we decided that we wanted to house a refugee, we had all read the news articles about the war and seen pictures of the destruction taking place in Syria. We have prayed for the people whose lives have been destroyed by the Civil War, and for refugees. Living with Jamal, someone who survived the war and fled his native country, has given us a new perspective on these issues. We see more clearly the human faces behind the photos, and connect more deeply with their stories. Brother Bill shared that our faith calls us to action in the service of others, and that inviting Jamal to live with us in community is a manifestation of that. Each of us should reflect on how we are called to action on behalf our refugee brothers and sisters who are fleeing violence and are being turned away.

Jamal, Jaimie, Bro. Bill, Bro. Ed

Jamal, Jaimie, Br. Bill, Br. Ed

Having Jamal join our community this year has been a gift for each of us. We have learned to build relationships with him despite a significant language barrier. We may not be able to say a lot to each other but consistently asking questions about how his ESL classes are going or how he liked church each weekend shows that we care and are invested in building our relationships with him. Recently we had Hadiya over for dinner, and she is able to translate for Jamal. Jaime shared with her proudly that she had been helping to teach Jamal English and that she taught him how to say “sandal” in English. That is when we learned that the word sandal is the same in both Arabic and English, and that Jamal knew this all along, but allowed Jaime to believe she taught him a new word. The whole room erupted in laughter at this prank that Jamal played on Jaime! There have been many such moments of joy and laughter that have been brought to our community through his presence with us. Brother Bill shared with us that “we are in the holy presence of God” in the presence of Jamal. Hadiya told us when she visited last week that this is the happiest that she has seen him in her past two years of working with him. He brings so much light and joy to those around him despite all of the difficulties that he has gone through. We are thankful for Jamal’s presence in our home, which has given new meaning and purpose to our experience of community.

Jacquie Martin is a second-year LV serving at Serviam Gardens in Bronx, New York and is a 2015 graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California.

 

By |February 22nd, 2017|Categories: blog, news + events|Comments Off on Jacquie Martin: Sharing Our Home

Remembering Brother Thomas Chadwick, FSC

Thomas Chadwick_01Lasallian Volunteers celebrates the life of Brother Thomas Chadwick, FSC. Brother Tom served as associate director of Lasallian Volunteers from 1996 to 1999. He passed away on February 8, 2017. Brother Tom took great pride in his work of accompanying Lasallian Volunteers and always got great joy out of his visits with the LVs in their ministries and communities.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
5:00 – 7:15 p.m., Viewing
7:30 p.m., Mass of Christian Burial
La Salle College High School (Auditorium)
8605 Cheltenham Avenue
Wyndmoor, PA 19038

Thursday, February 16, 2017
12:00 p.m., Burial in Brothers’ Cemetery
Beltsville, (Ammendale), MD

 MILESTONES:
Born: December 5, 1934
Entered the Novitiate: June 15, 1953
Received the Religious Habit: September 7, 1953
Pronounced Perpetual Vows: August 27, 1959

 ASSIGNMENTS:
1954-1958, Elkins Park, PA, Scholasticate
1958-1962, Philadelphia, PA, West Catholic Boys HS: teacher
1962-1965, Pittsburgh, PA, South Hills Catholic HS: teacher
1965-1969, Pittsburgh, PA, South Hills Catholic HS: vice principal
1969-1971, Pittsburgh, PA, South Hills Catholic HS: guidance counselor
1971-1972, Shiremanstown, PA, Trinity High School: principal
1972-1974, Philadelphia, PA, De La Salle in Towne: teacher (Res: Spring Garden St., dir.)
1974-1975, Philadelphia, PA, District Aspirancy Director and Director, Jeremy House
1975-1976, Audubon, PA, District Aspirancy Director (Residence: St. Gabriel’s Hall)
1976-1977, Audubon, PA, St. Gabriel’s Hall: vice principal
1977-1981, Audubon, PA, St. Gabriel’s Hall: assistant administrator
1981-1985, Skaneateles, NY, Novitiate: sub-director
1985-1987, Philadelphia, PA, De La Salle in Towne: teacher (Residence: Spring Garden St.)
1987-1988, Philadelphia, PA, St. Philip Neri School: principal
1988-1996, Wyndmoor, PA, La Salle College HS: guidance (Cmty. Dir. 1989-1992)
1996-1999, Washington, D.C., National Office: associate director, Lasallian Volunteers
1999-2001, Philadelphia, PA, Associate Director, Development (Residence: Jeremy House)
2001-2004, Wyndmoor, PA, Director, St. La Salle Auxiliary (Residence: La Salle HS)
2004-2015, Wyndmoor, PA, La Salle College HS: retired
2015-2016, Beltsville, MD, La Salle Hall: retired
2016-2017, Lincroft, NJ, De La Salle Hall: retired

By |February 9th, 2017|Categories: news + events|Comments Off on Remembering Brother Thomas Chadwick, FSC

Suzanne Denson: Finding Joy in the Mundane

Suzanne Denson, 16-17, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Minneapolis, MN

Suzanne Denson, 16-17, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Minneapolis, MN

Since the start of my first year as a Lasallian Volunteer in Minneapolis, I have noticed so much joy all around me. I never thought I would have ended up as a Lasallian Volunteer living on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River with the DeLaSalle High School community and having the opportunity to accompany students at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Twin Cities. I knew that living in the Midwest would have its challenges weather wise for someone who has lived in California her entire life, but I could not have imagined a more life-giving experience than I have been blessed with at Cristo Rey. One of my favorite people and probably the best professor I ever had in college says it best when she reminds her students to keep their eyes and heart open, to live in the present, to find beauty in the mundane, in the ordinary day-to-day interactions, and that hard work with a shared commitment brings genuine joy. Being able to be present to those around me, to walk with and accompany my fellow LVs, the Brothers in Minneapolis, and our students at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School through their unique journeys has been an absolute blessing.

Accompanying students at Cristo Rey as a campus minister, teacher, tutor, and coach has allowed me to meet students in a variety of settings. While coaching volleyball in the fall, I saw so much growth in my students both on and off the court. One of the most meaningful memories at Cristo Rey happened a few weeks ago when our juniors had a social justice retreat where each group explored a different topic they wanted to learn more about. While on retreat, each group had the opportunity to educate one another on topics such as: human trafficking, homelessness, immigration, health care, and mental health; and develop action plans for moving forward. I feel incredibly honored to work alongside these students and hope that I can offer an extra set of hands to make the actions plans that they have put so much heart into come to fruition.

Suzanne and a couple students

Suzanne and Cristo Rey Students

Community life has impacted my life in a big way this year. Entering into the program, I was looking forward to living in community with the Brothers. The De La Salle Christian Brothers have always had a special place in my heart, from meeting Brothers from around the world at various conferences, to working alongside Brothers at LaSalle Kirenge in the remote hills of Rwanda, and numerous Brothers from Saint Mary’s College of California that have all walked with me through my journey with such zeal and purpose. I am incredibly grateful I have been able to foster such a special bond with Br. Nick Geimer since being a LV. He has truly made my experience living in community filled with endless smiles and laughter.

Brother Nick is someone that I look up to daily. The first thing I do when I get back to the community house from Cristo Rey is walk to his weaving room or down to his workshop in the basement just to say hi and check in for a minute. Sometimes those “check-ins” last a few hours until one of us realizes that it’s almost dinner time with the rest of the community. It brings so much joy to be able to sit with Br. Nick and look through all of his photo albums, old coin collections from the time of the World’s Fair, and simply listen to his stories from his time as a Brother. I love sitting with him in his workshop, learning about what it takes to have just the right technique to make the perfect chair or podium, or sitting next to him while he’s working on a new weaving project.

Brother Nick

Brother Nick  Geimer

Last November, Br. Nick offered to teach me how to use the loom. He sat next to me and would stand over my shoulder every once in a while to make sure I had just the right technique going on. While I was working on the loom, Br. Nick sat by my side the entire time. He went through each step in detail and was so incredibly patient until I got the hang of it, especially when it came to weaving the letters. He told me that weaving was a kind of prayer that he loved. I can relate in so many ways because Br. Nick and I love to work with our hands as a way to pray. It gives us an opportunity to think about and send good thoughts to the people we care about. Whether I am on a pottery wheel throwing a vase or bowl for a friend or fixing a roof for a local family in need of an extra set of hands, I try to be intentional by thinking about the person or the family through the whole process. The hard work is so much more meaningful when I take the time to contemplate and reflect, rather than just getting the job done. After he shared with me how he is a contemplative in action when it comes to his weaving, I decided my first weaving would spell out the letters that reminded me of a special group of people I travel to the Brazilian Amazon with in college. Throughout the weaving process, I had the chance to really reflect on the trips I was lucky enough to go on and send all the good thoughts and prayers to those who would be going on future trips. The day I was finishing up my weaving by tying those final knots on the ends, Br. Nick was sitting next to me when I got the news my grandfather had passed away. It was at that point, after shedding a few tears when I realized how lucky I was to have the opportunity to live with the Brothers and feel supported by the Brother who I care so much about.

Brother Nick is my main confident in community, the one I am blessed to be able to pull out a box of Lincoln Logs with and build a mini log cabin with, he’s my best bud on Sunday mornings as we walk to Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes in seven degree weather, my museum companion, my Saturday morning grocery shopping buddy, and the best person I could ever go on long walks with around Minneapolis, especially when those walks end up with him being on a swing set for the first time in sixty plus years. I am so incredibly grateful for the memories LVs are able to share with the Brothers. Br. Nick and so many other Brothers around the world live out this Lasallian mission each and every day and for that we are all blessed to belong to this one Lasallian family.

Suzanne Denson is a first-year LV serving at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School – Twin Cities in Minneapolis, MN and is a 2016 graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California.

By |February 8th, 2017|Categories: blog, news + events|Comments Off on Suzanne Denson: Finding Joy in the Mundane

February 2017: De La Salle Academy-Concord

In this month’s “Ministry of the Month,” The San Francisco New Orleans District is featured. The ministry is De La Salle Academy and the Lasallian Volunteers are Abby Michels, 15-17 and Katie O’Leary, 16-17. Abby attended Lewis University and graduated in 2015. Katie attended Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and graduated in 2016. Katie and Abby focus on how service and faith help them continue their love for the Lasallian Mission fostered during their college experiences.

WHAT IS DE LA SALLE ACADEMY?

De La Salle Academy is a middle school for boys of academic promise from low-income families in the Greater Concord area. The school is grounded in the belief that a well-ordered and rigorous education is a key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Such an education can prepare students to live meaningful and productive lives and to recognize and fulfill their obligation to contribute to the well-being of the larger community. By focusing on students during their formative years, De La Salle Academy helps boys to lay a foundation upon which to build future success. Like our other Miguel Model schools, the school culture emphasizes citizenship, service, and responsibility, in a loving learning environment created by a skilled faculty and staff. At De La Salle Academy, attention is consistent, expectations are high, and each boy’s talents are recognized and nurtured, so that students can grow into young men with a positive vision for the future and with the skills to make their vision a reality. By providing opportunities for creativity and exploration, and for leadership and accountability, the Academy orients students toward the pursuit of excellence in everything they undertake.

WHAT IS THE SERVICE THAT ABBY AND KATIE PROVIDE AT DLSA?

Abby is the 5th grade guidance, 7th grade language arts and math, and 8th grade language arts and science teacher. She is also the head of the adult volunteer program, where she coordinates local adults to come in to either mentor or tutor the students. Katie’s role involves co-teaching 5th and 6th math and language arts, teaching 5th and 7th Spanish, PE supervisor for 6th grade, and is the volunteer coordinator for the tutors from the De La Salle High School in Concord.

Katie with De La Salle Academy students

Katie with De La Salle Academy students

WHY DID ABBY AND KATIE DECIDE TO JOIN LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Both Abby and Katie went to Lasallian universities, where their love for mission was nurtured in the classroom and through service opportunities. It seemed natural to them to continue their discernment as educators by joining the Lasallian Volunteers. Abby says, “I decided to serve with Lasallian Volunteers for a number of reasons. One, was to strengthen my faith. Two, was to fulfill my vocation of service to the poor. Three, I wanted to experience what it was like living in a different state.” Katie is a double Lasallian graduate, having also graduated from De La Salle Institute in Chicago. She says, “when I first heard about the program from my campus minister, Emily Vogel, I decided then that I wanted to be a volunteer after college. As I continued my education at SMUMN, I developed a passion for education and deepened my passion for the Lasallian mission. I wanted the opportunity to get experience teaching in a Lasallian school and living in community with Brothers and other volunteers.”

Abby with De La Salle Academy students

Abby with De La Salle Academy students

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT THESE VOLUNTEERS OFFER TO THE STUDENTS ENTRUSTED TO THEIR CARE?

Both young women agree that a ministry of presence is the most crucial thing they can give at their service site. From the minute they pull into the parking lot on Galaxy Way, they try to interact with as many of the 64 students as they can. Abby says, “What the boys at the Academy need from me is attention and affection. Many people do not know that boys look for affection from adults more than girls do. I try to offer a listening ear and relate to the boys as much as I can so that they know I care about who they are individually.” Katie’s experience as a first-year volunteer has been very similar. She says, “I think they need a safe space, somewhere that they feel supported, challenged, and loved. They need to feel like they have a place and I feel that we all do that at DLSA. We try to provide as much support as they need. Whether that is homework help from the High school volunteers, which I coordinate.”

HOW HAS KATIE AND ABBY’S FAITH IMPACTED THEIR EXPERIENCE AS LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

For Katie and Abby, faith and service are lived out together. Their service informs their faith and vice-versa. Both young women truly feels that God is with her when she is working with the students, families, and colleagues at DLSA. Both Abby and Katie have expressed a deepening in their prayer lives as a result of their time as Lasallian Volunteers and credit both living in community, their service, and each other for that change. Katie says, “I feel like one of the values we practice most together is faith. We bond over prayer and mass. I have also learned to be present to my community even if I have had a bad day, which helps me to be present for my students.” Abby shared, “I also learned to be present to my community even if I have had a bad day. In my community, we attend mass and morning prayer together. We break bread in the morning and recite the Breviary in the afternoon.”

 WHAT WOULD KATIE AND ABBY TELL COLLEGE SENIORS THINKING ABOUT SERVING AS A LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER?

Both of our volunteers have found tremendous value in the community aspect of the entire network that Lasallian Volunteers provides. Katie says of this aspect, “You are able to meet so many new people, you have your cohort of young people working towards a common goal and mission, you meet all of the people you work and live with, and you meet many other professionals in the Lasallian world at the various retreats and Lasallian events throughout the year.” When asked about their personal experience as Lasallian Volunteers, Abby had this to say to other young people discerning a post-graduate volunteer year, “DO IT!!! Lasallian Volunteers gives you the opportunity to focus on your personal growth, before you have to enter the real world. However, this experience is very real. It will challenge you in ways that you never thought possible, but from it, you will find a new, more authentic you.” Katie says, “I can’t imagine being a first-year teacher anywhere else because of all the support I have. I have support from my fellow LVs,  my co-workers, LV alums, and mentors.”

Abby and Katie getting a blessing

Abby and Katie getting a blessing

By |February 1st, 2017|Categories: lv of the month, news + events|Comments Off on February 2017: De La Salle Academy-Concord