When Sarah Eberle '03, of Phoenix, Arizona, was a student at Saint Mary's College of California, she took seriously the familiar words "Enter to learn, leave to serve." She was active in Campus Ministry, served as a tour guide for the Admissions Office, worked in Academic Support and Achievements, and held positions in the Student Alumni Association. She also completed her bachelor's degree with a double major in psychology and religious studies.
After graduating in May 2003, Eberle joined the Lasallian Volunteer program, a service project of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Volunteers serve in Christian Brothers ministries for one to three years in cities ranging from San Francisco to the Bronx. They work with poor people and live in community with other volunteers and Brothers themselves. They share the spiritual life of the Brothers and witness first-hand the Brothers' lives of deep religious commitment and service.
Eberle's volunteer assignment sent her to Minneapolis, where she worked at DeLaSalle High School. She also lived as a member of the Philips Community with Tiffany Espino '02, also a Lasallian Volunteer, and with three former Lasallian Volunteers: Peter Tanghe, and Amy Smith and Mark Muller, a married couple with two sons, George and Noah. Eberle's year as a volunteer is now at an end, and below is her final installment in her LV journal. In the fall, the journal will resume, to be penned by Chris Swain '04, whose LV assignment will take him to Camden, N.J.
"A Season of Lasts"
This is it. The last community dinner I have to cook. The last time Tiffany and I play tickle monster with 3-year-old George. The last time I step into Philips Community as a community member. The last time I drive in snowy conditions. The last lesson plan. The last exam to grade. The last school dance to chaperon. The last liturgy to plan. I am now at the end of my time as a Lasallian Volunteer.
As I stepped out of DeLaSalle High School for the very last time, I was reminded of what Henry Ford once said: "Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character..."
As I look back on my year of service, I remember questioning many times if I was making a difference. Am I being an effective teacher? Am I an active participant in my Phillips community? Am I serving the greater community to the best of my ability? Trials are an inescapable part of this life, but I struggle by asking myself what is my primary goal in life? I realize now it's not the big questions we need to focus on, it's what we do in the small moments that count the most. Our day-to-day activities that give us the chance to smile or greet one another with a positive comment are the true achievements of life.
Throughout my journey of service, many wonderful individuals enriched my life. I am thankful for my fellow Lasallian Volunteers, my community, the staff, faculty, and students at DeLaSalle High School. They opened their hearts and home to me, and I'm very grateful. I will always hold a special place in my heart for each one of them. From them I learned that just being a presence in someone's life could make all the difference in the world. In my many good-byes, I was hugged and told of how much my positive energy, enthusiasm, and smiles helped transform the staff, faculty, and students into a more unified community. How blessed we all are to have stood together through our own individual trials and withstood the storm of what life gives us. Each one of us developed character from the experiences we had together.
The whole of me will always be a Lasallian, and this Lasallian is returning home. I will be replacing my Philips Community with Saint Mary's College community as I pursue a masters of arts in counseling. SMC is where I started my journey of becoming a Lasallian, and it instilled in me a need to make a difference. Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." I look forward to reuniting and sharing with all of you, so we can enrich and enlighten each other in our many experiences within the community of SMC.
To learn more about the Lasallian Volunteer program, visit http://www.cbconf.org.
Previous Diary Entries
* "Retreating in New York" - Spring 2004
* "The Stuff of Lasallian Community Living" - Winter 2004
* "Lessons at Homecoming" - Fall 2003
* "From Moraga to Minneapolis" - Summer 2003