In this month’s “Ministry of the Month,” the Midwest District is featured. The ministry is John Paul II Academy in Racine, Wisconsin, and the Lasallian Volunteer is Madison Caropino, 17-19. Madison is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga.

WHAT IS JOHN PAUL II ACADEMY?

John Paul II Academy (JPIIA) is a Catholic school providing a faith-based education that embraces the teachings of the Gospel in order to develop the whole child. The school exists in partnership with the parents, parishes and the community to meet the needs of each individual student.

HOW DID MADISON BECOME A LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER?

Madison attended Saint Mary’s College of California and found herself called to a year of service. Lasallian Volunteers felt like a very natural fit. She says, “I was given many service opportunities, serving others is what I have always been happiest doing, and I knew that I wanted to continue service after I graduated. When I learned about Lasallian Volunteers, I knew that it would be the perfect fit for me. What attracted me most to the program was the mission of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, empowering our world’s youth through a quality education.”

WHAT IS THE SERVICE THAT MADISON PROVIDES?

Madison works to support the principal, helps the administrative assistants with administrative tasks, aid in classrooms, oversee all technology use at the school, and monitor recess and lunch. She says, “The kids I serve are what I look forward to when I wake up every day. The service aspect of the program has greatly impacted my life, and that is because of the kids I serve.”

HOW DOES MADISON TOUCH MINDS AND HEARTS AT JPIIA?

Madison with Principal Schumacher

Many of the students at JPIIA come from lower income families that receive free or reduced lunch, they need a lot of help with homework, and their parents work long hours to afford the tuition to send them to the school. Madison feels blessed to get to be a part of their lives and see them every day. She says, “What my students need is unconditional love. At the end of the day, I do not know what every one of my students’ lives are like outside of school. But I do know that I get seven hours a day with them, and during those seven hours, I try to be my best self and show up with a smile on my face every single day.”

HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE DE LA SALLE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS IMPACTED MADISON AS A LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER?

Like many of our Lasallian Volunteers who have attended our colleges and universities, Madison had known the De La Salle Christian Brothers during her time at Saint Mary’s. She shares this about living in community, “Living with Christian Brothers is a unique experience. It’s awesome to get to know them and about their lives, and why they are on the path they are on. It is incredibleto have Brothers with so much experience and knowledge at your dinner table to share with you what their experiences were in education. I have learned so much from the Brothers with whom I have lived throughout the past two years. Something that I have learned from living with Brothers is how to be a better listener. I think that the Brothers with whom I have lived with are great listeners, and it made me want to improve my listening, ask more questions, and just absorb the advice or stories that they are telling.”

WHAT DOES MADISON HAVE TO SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS ABOUT LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Madison says, “My best advice to a college senior discerning a volunteer year would just be to be open minded and ready to learn. The experience will not always be easy, but it is worth it. The personal growth and amount of love that I have experienced the past two years is indescribable. My students truly have made me a better person.