lv of the month

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January Ministry of the Month: John Paul II Academy Racine, Wisconsin

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.

By |January 11th, 2019|Categories: lv of the month, news + events|0 Comments

December Ministry of the Month: Bethlehem University

In this month’s Lasallian Volunteers “Ministry of the Month,” the Lasallian Region of North America is featured. The ministry is Bethlehem University in the Holy Land and the Lasallian Volunteers are first-year LVs George Boateng and Jarred McKinney. George is a 2018 Graduate of Boston College with a bachelor’s in History and Sociology and Jarred is 2018 a graduate of Emory University with a master’s in Global Religions.

WHAT IS BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY?

Bethlehem University is a Catholic co-educational institution in the Lasallian tradition whose mission is to provide quality higher education to the people of Palestine and to serve them in its role as a center for the advancement, sharing and use of knowledge. The university emphasizes excellence in academic programs and the development of students as committed people prepared to assume leading positions in society. The university fosters shared values, moral principles, and dedication to serving the common good. Founded in 1973, current enrollment is 3,295 students with 77 percent female and 23 percent. Of those students, 76 percent are Muslim while 24 percent are Christian. Students come from the areas surrounding Bethlehem with 46 percent from Bethlehem, 44 percent from Jerusalem, 8 percent coming from Hebron, and 2 percent coming from other places in the region.

WHAT SERVICE ARE GEORGE AND JARRED PROVIDING AT BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY?

George coordinates the English language tutoring program and works as a TA for an English class. Jarred spends most of his time tutoring in English, is also a TA for an English class, and writes and edits for the Bethlehem University newsletter.

WHY DID JARRED AND GEORGE DECIDE TO JOIN LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

For Jarred, he felt called to the mission of both the LV program and of Bethlehem University. He wanted to work for educational opportunities for people who might not otherwise get them. He says, “I became a Lasallian Volunteer because I believe that everyone loves learning, the first step is just learning how to learn. So, there is no venture more worthwhile than to accompany students in the journey of falling in love with learning.” For George, a trusted mentor introduced him to the program. He felt it was the best way for him to continue with his passion for social justice. He says, “I have always engaged in the civil activism. I believe in using my privilege to help people not blessed as I am to share in my freedom and rights.”

HOW DO GEORGE AND JARRED TOUCH THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF THOSE ENTRUSTED TO THEIR CARE?

Many Bethlehem students have to travel a great distance to get to the university. The political climate in Palestine is very unstable and can be dangerous. George and Jarred, along with the Brothers and Lasallians at Bethlehem University, offer safety, stability and quality education to the students entrusted to their care. George says, “Bethlehem University encounters the same challenges every person and institution confront in the West Bank due to socio-political reasons. However, amidst these struggles the institution endeavors to provide an education that is academically, socially and psychologically uplifting because of the belief that a well-rounded education is the best vehicle for positive changes. The most important thing my students need from me is my attention and dedication.” Jarred speaks of his experience when he says, “I think Bethlehem University attempts to combat this by instilling the idea that although Israel may occupy their physical bodies and their material resources, they cannot occupy your mind if you do not allow them to do so. That is the power of education, it is a liberating, life-giving force, and I think Bethlehem University aims to embody that. My students most need from me is to see that learning can be play, it can be fun. This removes the pressure and emphasis on grades and allows the learning experience to be enjoyable.”

HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE DE LA SALLE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS IMPACTED GEORGE AND JARRED?

Neither Jarred nor George had experience with the Lasallian charism or De La Salle Christian Brothers prior to their service experience. However, both volunteers have very positive things to say about their community experience at Bethlehem University. Jarred says, “Living with the Brothers has placed an emphasis on prayer and paying attention to the happenings of my life. Thus, praying multiple times a day has led me to be attentive to the presence of the Divine in the world. If, then, I am attending to God, my self-understanding rests in God. But, there is a lot of grey-area in this. Living with the Brothers has helped me to see that this grey-area is, in fact, holy ground.” George shared, “My time with the Brothers has taught me that they are just like everybody else, but they live a life dedicated to education. My experience has instilled an appreciation to living simply.”

WHAT DO GEORGE AND JARRED WANT TO SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS ABOUT LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

George says, “The volunteer year should not be about you, but about the people you are serving and the mission of the place you are serving under.” Jarred says of serving for a year after college, “I think sometimes that we make things too formulaic. A leads to B, B then to C, and so on. Perhaps it is better to think about life as a pilgrimage.”

 

 

By |December 12th, 2018|Categories: lv of the month, news + events|Comments Off on December Ministry of the Month: Bethlehem University

November Ministry of the Month: LaSalle School Albany

In this month’s Lasallian Volunteers “Ministry of the Month,” the District of Eastern North America is featured. The ministry is LaSalle School in Albany, New York, and the Lasallian Volunteers are first-year LV Christopher (Chris) Lackey and returning volunteer Krystiana Schaffer. Krystiana is a 2017 graduate of La Salle University, and Chris is a 2018 graduate of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

 WHAT IS LASALLE SCHOOL?

Founded in 1854 by the De La Salle Christian Brothers to serve abandoned and orphaned boys, LaSalle School is a multi-faceted human services agency. A talented and dedicated staff of more than 200 work with a daily enrollment of 230 adolescent boys and their families in Residential Treatment, Day Education, the Specialized Treatment Program, the After-School Center, and related programming. In addition, outpatient appointments are now being accepted at The Counseling Center at LaSalle. Located in the Pine Hill’s neighborhood of Albany, LaSalle’s main campus co-exists with residences, businesses, public schools, colleges and universities. Over the last decade, the agency’s facilities have benefited from an extensive program of renovation and new construction, providing an excellent environment for learning, living and working. Today, the work of LaSalle extends well beyond the residential campus. Nearly two-thirds of the youth in care live in their own communities and homes. An emphasis on the development of enhanced education, aftercare and preventive services has proven to be a natural complement to the strong program of residential care LaSalle proudly traces to its origins 160 years ago.

WHAT SERVICE ARE CHRIS AND KRYSTIANA PROVIDING AT LA SALLE SCHOOL? Chris is a campus minister and recreation worker. In his role as campus minister, he brings students to different ministries around the Albany area. As a recreation staff member, he puts on activities for students when they are out of school such as football games, bike rides and camping trips. Krystiana is part of the admissions team at LaSalle School. She assists in the admissions process beginning with the referral made by an outside agency, down to the happenings the day the youth come into the school for care.

HOW WERE KRYSTIANA AND CHRIS INTRODUCED TO THE LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS? Both volunteers are graduates of Lasallian universities in very different areas of our Region. They share a common belief that they were being called into a deeper connection with the Lasallian family after college. Chris says, “I became an LV because I could not see myself anywhere else. One thing I knew for certain leaving college was that I knew I wanted to stay connected to the Lasallian community. I love the spirit and charism of Saint John Baptist de La Salle and wanted to keep growing and learning in that. I also felt I heard God’s call to the Lasallian Volunteers stronger than any other place. I looked at other ministries, but my prayers just did not seem to lead me any other place.” As a second year, Krystiana echoes this when she says, “I think I decided to serve as an LV because I strongly believe in the Lasallian mission. No matter the ministry, no matter where I am in the world, I can feel the core values in everything we do. I want to be someone who helps to share those values with the greater Lasallian world.”

HOW DO CHRIS AND KRYSTIANA TOUCH THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF THOSE ENTRUSTED TO THEIR CARE?

The young men at LaSalle School come to them having experienced trauma. Chris and Krystiana, along with the other staff, are called to reach out to them with care and consideration no matter what. Chris says, “These young men have suffered in their short life from very traumatic experiences and troubled lives. So, what we are taught in how to help these young people is to do your best to create a relationship with them and show them you care so you will have the privilege to be with them when they are struggling the most. At the heart of this I find Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s words as well as the core values of Lasallians. I try to remember if you approach an emotionally traumatized young man with love remembering that he is God’s child, you can transcend all that trauma!” Krystiana says, “I believe each person is of value to our society and deserves to be treated in such that they feel dignified, seen and listened to. I have a deep appreciation for the way we as Lasallians see each other holistically. What I have learned at LaSalle School is that positive relationships are at the core of transformation. I believe that starts with being seen, and you do that by showing respect. Most of our young men have faced severe adversity in their short time on earth. LaSalle School is in the business of using therapeutic relationships and supports to elicit personal growth.”

HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE DE LA SALLE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS IMPACTED KRYSTIANA AND CHRIS?

As Krystiana and Chris both went to Lasallian universities, they had experience with being taught by De La Salle Christian Brothers. As a second year, Krystiana says of being in community with Brothers, “Being witness to the Brother’s dedication to the mission is truly inspiring. It is not always easy to be of service to others, but these men have shown me how to navigate the co-existing worlds of service and community while starting each day ready to give to others your best self. It is not every day you get to sit at a table filled with hundreds of years of experience. The wisdom they have imparted on me is a gift I will forever be grateful for.” Chris reflects on his time so far in community when he says, “Living in community with the Brothers has impacted me by truly trying to live in the presence of God. Trusting in His Providence every day and trying to recognize Him in all peoples and things is truly life giving.”

WHAT DO 2018-2019 LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS WANT TO SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS ABOUT LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Both volunteers at LaSalle School have encouraging things to say about serving with Lasallian Volunteers. Krystiana says, “The fact that you are even considering a year of service means that you are mission driven and care a great deal for your fellow man. A service year will test you, push you, and stretch you in the best ways possible, and you will come out stronger and a better person. In your dedication to social justice and the service of persons in need, I bet you will find the person you become through that experience is someone you are proud of.” Chris offered this, “You will get something out of it if you put your whole self into whatever it is you are doing. So, do not be afraid to take a leap!”

By |November 6th, 2018|Categories: lv of the month, news + events|Comments Off on November Ministry of the Month: LaSalle School Albany

October Ministry of the Month: De La Salle Academy

In this month’s “Ministry of the Month,” the District of San Francisco New Orleans is featured. The ministry is De La Salle Academy (DLSA) in Concord, California, and the Lasallian Volunteers are Ashley Weinburger, 17-19, and Julia Mach, 18-19. Ashley attended La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Julia attended Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois. Ashley and Julia focus on how service and community 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 San Miguel-model 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 other Lasallian Miguel-model schools, De La Salle Academy 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 ASHLEY AND JULIA PROVIDE AT DLSA?

Ashley is the 5th and 6th grade science teacher, the 6th grade English language arts (ELA) teacher, and the mentor program facilitator. Each student at DLSA has an adult mentor who follows them through their years in the school. Ashley pairs students and mentors. Julia is the ELA support teacher for the 5th, 7th, and 8th grades. She also supervises physical education for the 6th and 8th grade students and is the coordinator for DLSA’s tutoring program. This program invites people from the community to come to DLSA and share their wisdom with the young men after instruction is over for the day. They help with homework, reading and other skills.

WHY DID JULIA AND ASHLEY DECIDE TO JOIN LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Both Julia and Ashley 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. Julia says, “I decided to become a Lasallian Volunteer because I wanted to grow as an educator and what better way to grow as an educator than to be surrounded by people who dedicate their lives to educating the poor. I also wanted to be a Lasallian Volunteer because I knew the experience I gained through the program would not compare if I just took a teaching job outside of college.” Ashley found out about the program from recruiting efforts at La Salle. She says, “I was initially attracted to the Lasallian Volunteers because a current volunteer came and talked about it in my class. Since I am an education major, I thought about it but wanted to do an international program. Then I received an email about volunteering in Jamaica and the rest is history.”

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

Both volunteers have education as their majors. As important as it is that they are trained teachers, each young woman recognizes that teaching subject matter – while important – is not their only job. They have to instill confidence in the young men entrusted to their care and show them that they are loved. Ashley says, “Getting to touch the hearts of children and families in a very unique way is what makes being a Lasallian Volunteer so special. The most important thing my students need from me is quality education and my support. With these two things, I can help my students to become the best that they can be.” Julia agrees when she says, “As it is often said at my site ‘everyone has a story.’ The most important thing a student needs from me – besides an education – is to know that I believe in them. No matter what they say or do, against all odds, someone still believes in them, cares for them, and wants what is best for them.”

HOW HAVE JULIA AND ASHLEY’S EXPERIENCE LIVING WITH THE DE LA SALLE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS IMPACTED THEIR EXPERIENCE AS LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Both volunteers attended Lasallian universities and had contact with Brothers prior to volunteering. Their understanding of community life and the religious life the Brothers live deepened when they chose to be Lasallian Volunteers. Julia says, “I have learned how to begin to anticipate the needs of others and to understand why they choose to live together in a community. You are not going to see eye-to-eye with everyone in community but the Brothers are there to support you, give you advice and provide some witty commentary when a laugh or pun is needed.” As a 2nd year, Ashley echoes this and says, “My involvement with the Brothers has made me a better person. I have become more responsible and more giving than I have ever been. I strive to make others happy and tend to worry about my needs less.”

WHAT WOULD JULIA AND ASHLEY TELL COLLEGE SENIORS THINKING ABOUT THE LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS PROGRAM?

Ashley and Julia both highly encourage college seniors to think about a year of service with Lasallian Volunteers! Ashley says, “It will be the best yearof your life! You think that when you decide to do a year of service that you will only being giving your whole self for an entire year, but you receive a lot too. You receive experience, knowledge, lifelong relationships and unconditional love, along with giving so much of yourself to others.” Julia agrees with her community member when she says, “It will be the best decision you ever made as a soon-to-be college graduate.”

 

By |October 11th, 2018|Categories: lv of the month, news + events|Comments Off on October Ministry of the Month: De La Salle Academy

September Ministry of the Month: DeLaSalle Minneapolis

In this month’s “Ministry of the Month,” the Midwest District is featured. The ministry is DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Lasallian Volunteers are Jumari Callaway, 17-19 and Joseph Rogers, 18-19. Jumari is a graduate of Christian Brothers University (CBU) in Memphis, Tennessee. Joseph is a graduate of Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 WHAT IS DELASALLE HIGH SCHOOL?

DeLaSalle High School opened in 1900 as the first Catholic high school in Minneapolis. Administered by the Christian Brothers since its inception, “De” has been co-educational since 1971-72. Over 15,000 men and women have graduated from DeLaSalle, which is still located on historic Nicollet Island, within walking distance of downtown Minneapolis. Today, DeLaSalle educates students from over 116 different Twin Cities elementary schools, from as far away as 30 miles in each direction. Still the only traditional college prep Catholic high school within Minneapolis, De is also the most diverse private high school in Minnesota in terms of ethnicity, socio-economic and family background.

HOW DID JOSEPH AND JUMARI BECOME LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

For Jumari, her life has been full of volunteering opportunities. As graduation from CBU approached, she began to think more seriously about education, but knew she was not ready for a full-time teaching experience. A trusted mentor steered her toward Lasallian Volunteers. She says, “I went to the Honors Program director with my dilemma, and she introduced me to Lasallian Volunteers. The program sounded like the introduction to the education field that I needed, with the support I was afraid I’d be lacking if I pursued a job and eased some of the stresses of living on my own with a job. It was even more appealing to me because I was serving others by getting this experience, and I would get to know a city I hadn’t known before.” Joseph’s experience is a bit different. The product of a double Lasallian education, Joseph encountered the Lasallian Volunteers through a service immersion program at Central. He says, “I first encountered the Lasallian Volunteers during my senior year at Central Catholic when I went on a service trip to the DeLaSalle Blackfeet School in Browning, Montana. I have always been committed to serving others and giving back for the gifts I have received, and this, plus the opportunity to work in a Lasallian high school made this program a perfect fit.”

WHAT IS THE SERVICE THAT JUMARI AND JOSEPH PROVIDE?

Both Joseph and Jumari serve as Learning Lab Coordinators at De. They are responsible for scheduling tests for students and helping with homework and other academic needs. They make sure students communicate with their teachers when they would like to take a test with learning accommodations, keep and proctor tests, and turn them in to staff afterwards. For the younger students, this sometimes means they hold them accountable for finishing tests in a timely manner. As Learning Lab staff, Jumari and Joseph have several students they meet with weekly, biweekly, or monthly to keep them on track with academic goals and discuss any academic issues they might have due to their learning disabilities. The goal is to help them grow in communicating their classroom needs to their teachers confidently, and learn to excel in the classroom regardless of whatever learning challenges they are facing. In addition to this, Joseph is also working in campus ministry, which allows him to plan prayer services, liturgies, and service opportunities for the students at De. Both volunteers participate in extracurricular activities at the school.

HOW DO JOSEPH AND JUMARI TOUCH MINDS AND HEARTS AT DE?

High school can be a challenge for all students. Having a difficult time finding friends, making teams, or discovering what extracurriculars make students feel passionate are challenging enough without having learning needs as well. Jumari recognizes this and says, “The students who focus more on fitting in have the added struggle of accepting the fact that what makes them different isn’t a bad thing before they even handle learning how to work with it. That’s something we try to do with them, but it’s ultimately something they have to accept themselves before we can help them. While they learn to embrace that, we do everything we can to help, even if it’s just building a relationship so that students feel they can approach us when they have struggles or questions. Personally, I feel this is the most important part of our job. We’re here to help the students, but we can’t do that if we haven’t made it clear that we are here for them and made them feel that we care for them and want to help however we can.” Joseph agrees when he says, “Students who struggle academically often feel demoralized when they cannot understand something at the same level or speed as a classmate, and rather than pushing them to their limits about turning in late work and studying harder, I find ways to connect with them and identify something they did really well to build confidence. I also hold my students accountable by checking their grades frequently and corresponding with students and their parents regularly.”

HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE DE LA SALLE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS IMPACTED JUMARI AND JOSEPH AS LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Like many of the volunteers who have gone to Lasallian high schools, colleges and universities, where De La Salle Christian Brothers live in the communities, Joseph and Jumari have had previous experience with the Brothers. The volunteers at De have gained a new perspective on the sacramental relationship living in community can have in theirlives. Joseph says,  “I have known the Christian Brothers for eight years, since I was a freshman at Central Catholic, and their encouragement, guidance and support have shaped me into the person and educator that I am today.” Jumari agrees when she says, “Living with the Brothers has taught me resilience and given me an appreciation for life that I didn’t realize I was lacking.”

WHAT DO JUMARI AND JOSEPH HAVE TOSAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS ABOUT LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Jumari encourages all college graduates to think seriously about giving a year of service. She says, “A year volunteering will not be easy, but it will be worth it. You will see growth in yourself, even in areas you didn’t think you could grow. You will inspire growth in others, even if you don’t immediately see it. You will serve those that need you, and the experience you gain from that will change you in positive ways. If you value service, growth in yourself and others, and are open to change, this will be an invaluable, unforgettable year. And if you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear all about it.” Joseph says, “At the end of my life, many years from now, I never want to look back and say ‘I wish I would have done that.’ If you feel called to work in a volunteer ministry, regardless of the program, live your life to the fullest and let life find a way!”

By |September 13th, 2018|Categories: lv of the month, news + events|Comments Off on September Ministry of the Month: DeLaSalle Minneapolis