lv of the month

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March Ministry of the Month: La Salle Middle School

In this month’s “Ministry of the Month,” the Midwest District is featured. The ministry is La Salle Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Lasallian Volunteer is second-year LV Quaneesha Shields. Quaneesha is a graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

WHAT IS LA SALLE MIDDLE SCHOOL?

La Salle Middle School, formerly De La Salle Middle School, is a public charter school located in North St. Louis. La Salle is committed to transforming children and community through innovative education. La Salle Middle School works hard to educate the whole child. Students at La Salle are pushed to achieve excellence academically, nurture caring relationships, understand the need for service in the community and are shown the importance of respect for all.

HOW DID QUANEESHA BECOME A LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER?

A graduate of La Salle University, Quaneesha credits alumni of Lasallian Volunteers actively recruiting her during her education classes. She says, “I decided to become a Lasallian Volunteer because I have a passion for teaching and learning. I heard about the program through other LVs who came into my education classes and the program sounded like something that I was called to do.”

WHAT IS THE SERVICE THAT QUANEESHA PROVIDES?

Quaneesha is the fifth and sixth grade English Language Arts (ELA) and social studies lead teacher.

HOW DOES QUANEESHA TOUCH MINDS AND HEARTS AT LA SALLE MIDDLE SCHOOL?

Quaneesha has worked to form relationships with her students like all of the volunteers she serves with. She says, The most important thing that my students need from me on an everyday basis is the gift of patience and love. The students in my classroom face the most barriers toward success. Our school is 100 percent African American. There are a handful of students and families facing homelessness, and 100 percent of our students qualify for free-reduced lunch. Our school is also located in North St. Louis, where crime rates are high and more than half of our students have witnessed a family member or close friend get killed out on the streets. As a school community, we work to provide our students with the support that they need academically, emotionally, socially and physically on a daily basis.”

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

Quaneesha, like many of our volunteers who graduate from our colleges and universities, had met the Brothers during her classes or on campus at events. Her experience of living with them over the past two years has helped deepen her faith life. She says, “My involvement in community with the Brothers has taught me the importance of intentional community amongst one another. Community is the building block toward creating a caring bond with one another, especially during difficult times. Living with the Brothers has made my faith life grow tremendously and I love knowing that I have a support system to back me on a daily basis.”

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

Quaneesha had this to say about a year of service after college, “I would say to give your ‘yes.’ It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! You have to experience the struggle to see the ending beauty. If you decide to dedicate at least a year of your life to volunteering, you will become a different person, one that you are proud of and one that shows growth in beautiful ways.”

By |March 5th, 2019|Categories: lv of the month, news + events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

February Ministry of the Month: San Miguel School, Washington DC

In this month’s Lasallian Volunteers “Ministry of the Month,” the District of Eastern North America is featured. The ministry is San Miguel School in Washington, D.C. The Lasallian Volunteers are Benjamin Peters and Timothy Foley, 18-19. Tim is a graduate of Northeastern University, and Ben is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMUMN).

WHAT IS THE SAN MIGUEL SCHOOL?

San Miguel School is a Lasallian middle school, dedicated to transforming lives for academically underserved and economically disadvantaged boys in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Based on the virtues of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the Miguel model of education provides the academic, spiritual and social training necessary for positive character development, personal resiliency and responsible citizenship. Students enter San Miguel as at-risk boys and graduate as Miguel Men, equipped for future success in high school, college and beyond.

WHAT IS THE SERVICE BEN AND TIM PROVIDE?

Tim and Ben both teach a seventh grade religion class known as “Miguel Class,” which combines religious studies with socioemotional learning. Tim supervises and tracks all students’ reading scores, which are earned each time a student finishes reading a book and taking a quiz on it. Each student has a total point goal that he must meet each quarter. In addition, Tim supervises study halls, tutors students, is the sixth grade PE teacher, and coached the school’s flag football team. In addition to teaching his seventh grade Miguel Class, Ben supervises students during independent reading, substitutes classes for his fellow teachers, is the school’s librarian, and supervises recess.

HOW DID BEN AND TIM BECOME LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Ben learned about Lasallian Volunteers as an undergraduate at SMUMN. He was interested in a year of service but what drew him to the program was the experience of his classmates. He says, “Initially, I looked at the Lasallian Volunteers because I wanted to get first hand teaching experience before I decided to pursue a master’s degree. However, a big factor in deciding to pursue a position with the LVs was reading about the experiences that former volunteers had with the people they served and worked with.” While Tim did not attend a Lasallian college or university, he felt connected to Lasallian Volunteers and the Lasallian charism through his father’s work. He says, “Lasallian Volunteers appealed to me for a number of reasons. I first heard about it through my dad, who has worked at Bishop Loughlin since before I was born. As I learned more about the program, I came to find that it was strikingly compatible with my different passions. It was an opportunity to further pursue my faith, something that became increasingly important to me throughout college. It was a chance to contribute to a meaningful cause and to work with individuals who care about social justice. Finally, it would allow me to work in a school, through an organization that places the focus on building strong relationships with students.”

HOW DO BEN AND TIM TOUCH THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE STUDENTS AT SAN MIGUEL?

Both volunteers value the personal interactions they have with their students. They have invested in the school and realize that a successful volunteer year comes from finding God in the kids themselves. Tim says, “I think the most important thing my students need is for me to listen to them. I want to make them feel valued and validated. Especially as middle-schoolers, making sure they feel respected and heard is crucial. In the midst of stress, I fall short on this a lot, and it’s something I’m continuing to work on. I think little things you say and do have a lasting impact on young people and being just a little more patient, or softening myself just a little extra to be more of a listener can really make a difference.” Ben agrees when he says, “They need someone to help lead them and encourage them by setting boundaries and expectations so they can know what to aim for. I’m here to do everything from helping them find a good book to leading them to the mysteries within a reading to providing a quiet space for them to explore and work.”

HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE BROTHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS/LASALLIANS IMPACTED BEN AND TIM?

Ben and Tim have both enjoyed community life with each other, Brothers and Partners, especially in the personal growth they have found that they did not fully expect. Tim says, “My involvement in community has caused me to learn a lot about myself. It has helped me to identify areas where I can grow. I feel like my flaws and shortcomings and insecurities and idiosyncrasies have really been on display for me. On the other hand, I’ve also seen different strengths and virtues rise to the top, some of which I didn’t even know I had. It has all caused me to ask myself a lot of questions; to bring a lot of questions into prayer, and I know that there is more in store for me as I continue my time here. It has already been fruitful in so many ways. I also feel like I’ve grown as a teacher through the valuable advice and support that I’ve received in community.” Ben echoes Tim’s thoughts when he says, “This past year has helped me mature as I have 92 students who look up to me and depend on me to set a good example of how to work both diligently and faithfully; it has also taught me more about myself and what I believe is the purpose of my life: to continue serving others.”

WHAT DO BEN AND TIM WANT TO SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS CONSIDERING A YEAR OF SERVICE WITH THE LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Ben and Tim with Margaret Naughton, DENA partner who lives in community and who serves on the LV staff.

The message is simple. Come and see! Ben says of a year of service, “If you are unsure about what you want to do with your life but you think it might be something in education or serving others: Do it!If you want experience teaching in an environment (with LV mentors and co-teachers) that will help you grow to be the best possible teacher you could be—even if you have no idea what that means yet: Do it.If you are afraid that you might totally mess up in front of some kids or adults that you serve: don’t worry about it! You probably will, but if you want help picking yourself up and figuring out how to do better: Be an LV!” Tim says of his year of service so far, “I would absolutely encourage it. Regardless of what degree you are coming out with, regardless of what your plans are. It deserves really strong consideration. It’s a great opportunity to serve, and to walk with different people who can shape your perspective in so many crucial ways, who you can learn a lot from. It will challenge you and test you, but I think all of that will really just prepare you better for whatever it is you plan to do after. For me it has been worth it—hands down.”

By |February 7th, 2019|Categories: lv of the month, news + events, Uncategorized|Comments Off on February Ministry of the Month: San Miguel School, Washington DC

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|Comments Off on January Ministry of the Month: John Paul II Academy Racine, Wisconsin

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