Monthly Archives: March 2019

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Alisa Macksey Honored as Distinguished Lasallian Educator 

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s President Father James P. Burns and Alisa Macksey, Courtesy Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

As part of its annual Founder’s Day celebration, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMUMN) presented its Distinguished Lasallian Educator award to Alisa Macksey, LV 00-02, former director and associate director of Lasallian Volunteers 

Macksey, who serves as executive director of SMUMN’s First Generation Initiative, received the award as part of the March 12 celebration on the university’s Winona campus, which also honored other outstanding faculty, staff and students, along with presenting Brother Superior General Robert Schieler, FSC, with an honorary degree.  

The Distinguished Lasallian Educator award, which is presented each year, recognizes a member of the faculty, staff or administration whose life of faith and service exemplifies the ideals of Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Macksey began serving SMUMN’s First Generation Initiative in 2015 and has been instrumental in developing the AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education and the International Symposium on Lasallian Research.  

Macksey, a graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California, served on the LV staff for eight years (2003-2011), four as associate director and four as director, before serving for four years (2011-2015) as director of programs at Christian Brothers Conference.  

More from SMUMN > 

By |March 28th, 2019|Categories: news + events|0 Comments

Registration Now Open: Brother James Miller Pilgrimage

In honor of the anticipated beatification of Brother James Miller, FSC, Lasallian Volunteers (LV), in collaboration with the Midwest District, is hosting a pilgrimage to honor the life and legacy of Brother James, a native of Wisconsin who died as a martyr on February 13, 1982, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

In November, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing that Brother James died as a martyr, an important step in his cause for beatification. The process to declare him a martyr began in 2009. Brother James was repairing a school wall when he was approached by three men, who shot and killed him.

Anyone interested in joining the LVs is welcome to participate in a special one-day pilgrimage on Wednesday, May 29 from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where Brother James was born, to Polonia, Wisconsin, where Brother James is buried. Click here to register >

  • Walk begins at Pacelli High School at 1301 Maria Drive, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, at 9:00 a.m. Check-in begins at 8:15 a.m.
  • Estimated arrival at the St. Martin Cemetery in Ellis, Wisconsin, at 11:45 a.m.
  • A prayer service at the gravesite of Brother James will take place soon after arrival.
  • A Eucharistic procession will take place from the cemetery to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Polonia immediately following the conclusion of the prayer service at approximately 12:30 p.m.

The pilgrimage is very much in line with opportunities being hosted by Lasallians worldwide in celebration of Year of Lasallian Vocations, which marks the 300th anniversary of Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s entry into eternal life and celebrates the impact of the mission he started. This will be a wonderful experience for LVs to connect more deeply with the Lasallian charism and the Year of Lasallian Vocations.

For more information on the pilgrimage, contact Lasallian Volunteers at 202-529-0047.

Learn more about Brother James Miller, FSC >

Waiver and Release of Liability >

By |March 25th, 2019|Categories: news + events|0 Comments

Celebrating Small Successes

In social work it can be difficult, reminding yourself of your position when you become so familiar to the families you serve. As a volunteer for Tides Family Services, you often have to make a tough call that will compromise your standing with a family for the safety of your client. On the other side of that coin, there are many other moments when I’ve wondered if I had made a difference at all—if I had even provided help in the way of a stepping stone toward a client’s treatment goals. In both instances, I was becoming too wrapped up in the troubling parts of my service.

I was taught a very important lesson that would take me out of that mindset by a client who I’ll call Sophia. For the first couple of weeks, we were open to her, she was tough to engage with: she hated eye contact, did not like small talk, and, even with open-ended questions, gave one-word answers. But with persistence and patience, Sophia became easy going and responded well to the team during her times of crisis.

It was bittersweet that as she was coming out of her shell, I was shifting to a new role at Tides Learning Center. I was closing out cases with my families and offered a goodbye recreational activity to those open to it. Sophia was quick to take up the offer. During our time in the community, we discussed safety planning around threatening situations and continuing to encourage positive self-image. Sophia then stated there was a memento, a paper fortune that was one of a few personal things that she kept after moving from house to house. She had forgotten about it in the past few years but was going to look at it more often to remind her what she liked about herself. When I asked her what it said, Sophia got frustrated in trying to get the exact wording. When it became too distressing, we moved on to a different topic.

Time has passed since that last conversation we’d had. I am trying to build new bonds with clients and students I am always quick to identify as “my kids.” But I was settling into my troubled mindset again. Is what I’m doing going to have any effect? What if the students don’t respond well to me? What if there are students who do, but it becomes strained after a tough decision that I will inevitably have to make?

It was a little over a month later when a coworker sent me a message. Sophia had texted the on-call phone trying to reach me. “If Leisha is still around, tell her the fortune cookie I’ve had hanging for years says, ‘Your emotional nature is strong and sensitive.’ I keep forgetting but I said I’d tell her.”

I couldn’t believe that she remembered the conversation. Much less that Sophia still believed it was important that I know what that little fortune said; words that reminded this anxious girl, who had gone through so much at such a young age, what she loved about herself.

When the going gets tough, we reflect on our relationships with those we serve. That means celebrating the small successes that could easily be overlooked if one doesn’t take a step back from the daily grind. Receiving that message in the midst of my own doubts reminded me to focus on them: An open question in class, a student doing work for the first time in months, a previously quiet client initiating interest in a recreational activity.

There will always be some setback here and there. But they become fewer, with a little more time in between each one, and in the meantime, it’s those moments the client and I focus on to remind them that progress is being made. That relationship of understanding is something that is being felt, if not at the very least seen. I am eternally grateful to be able to usher my kids at least a little of the way on their individual journeys. And enjoy those small successes with them.

Leisha Adrianzen is a second-year volunteer serving at Tides Family Services/Tides Learning Center in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

By |March 22nd, 2019|Categories: blog|Comments Off on Celebrating Small Successes

Save the Date: 2019 FSC Awards

By |March 14th, 2019|Categories: news + events|Comments Off on Save the Date: 2019 FSC Awards

From Spain to the US to be Part of the Solution

A year ago I made a decision that would change my life completely. A decision that I do not regret, but that was risky.

I studied all my life at La Salle of Paterna in Valencia, Spain. It is there that I remember spending the happiest years of my life. My parents are teachers and I grew up volunteering, attending summer camps, and participating in catechesis. Joining Lasallian Volunteers was an opportunity for me to go one step further. It meant leaving my life in Spain to continue my Lasallian vocation on the other side of the ocean, in a country with a different language and culture. I knew this would be a challenge for me.

This decision, as crazy as it is brave, is changing my life and my perception completely. Now I live in Bronx, New York, in the Lasallian Community at Bedford Park, along with four Brothers and three Lasallian Volunteers. My great American family. Life here is better than I imagined; life in community with Brothers and volunteers is endearing. The routines with our daily prayers and our community dinners, as well as weekend plans outside the home. Especially in my case, I believe that living in a community is special, since I am far from my home and I miss my family. That is why living in community makes me feel more nurtured and cared for.

My work here is very different from what I had done in previous volunteer programs. I’m working at POTS, Part of the Solution, a multiservice agency in the Bronx. This center is a source of help for hundreds of neighborhood residents who attend the different services daily: community dining room, food pantry, mail, haircuts, legal services, immigration services, employment department, etc. I provide intake support for clients seeking access to POTS programs. I also assist clients in obtaining and maintaining cash and non-cash benefits such as Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Medicaid, Lifeline (phones), Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE). In addition, I help clients navigate access to various forms of temporary and permanent housing including supportive housing applications, nursing home applications and low-income housing applications.We work with families as they move from crisis to stability and, ultimately, self-sufficiency.

Sometimes I feel a lot of responsibility because I am the first contact that the clients have with the organization. I conduct intake interviews where I collect demographic information and speak with them about their life. For that reason, I try to show that we have to treat everyone with empathy, respect, listening and affection because we all have stories to tell and not always all voices are heard. During this process, it is very rewarding to see how we help families. I have never before had a job that made me feel so proud and spiritually fulfilled.

All this developed with the best coworkers, who help me and teach me every day and make me feel proud to contribute to POTS mission.  I have only been here four months and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year holds for me. I will continue living with my wonderful Lasallian community and continue helping the neighbors and families of the Bronx along with my POTS team. Let’s keep going!

Daniel Martinez attended La Salle of Paterna in Valencia, Spain.

By |March 6th, 2019|Categories: blog, news + events|Comments Off on From Spain to the US to be Part of the Solution