"From Moraga to Minneapolis"
This summer, I became a Lasallian Volunteer.
As I look back to the beginning of my senior year at Saint Mary's College, I remember questioning what I wanted to do with my life. During my first three years, I learned that being a part of a community is a rewarding experience. Knowing that my fellow classmates and professors were supporting and encouraging me during times of sadness as well as times of happiness brought much comfort to me. This sense of community is nurtured by the Christian Brothers' love, which was instilled in them by their founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.
As an active student on campus, I learned that De La Salle's message went beyond classroom instruction to helping and serving the community at large. Saint Mary's infused in me the yearning to serve in local, national, and global communities through the various outreach programs that were available to me on campus. Taking the Lasallian message and vision of "Enter to learn, leave To serve" to heart and sensing a desire to continue in a community setting, I decided to join the Lasallian Volunteer program.
Now, I am a member of the Philips Community in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I live with another Lasallian Volunteer, Tiffany Espino '02, who teaches at San Miguel Middle School. I also live with three former Lasallian Volunteers: Amy Smith and Mark Muller, a married couple with a three-year-old son, George, and a five-month-old son, Noah; as well as Peter Tanghe, who is a doctor. I serve at DeLaSalle High School as a Lasallian minister, and I co-teach a pilot program, Learning Enrichment, for twelve freshman students who are either ESL (English as a second language) students or who are having difficulty with their academic studies. With this program, DeLaSalle High School is trying to implement De La Salle's message and vision in the school setting.
The sense of community is very vivid at DeLaSalle High School and in the community in which I live. When I left Saint Mary's, I thought I wouldn't hear the words "Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God; Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us; live Jesus in our hearts, forever." But, there hasn't been a day that goes by that we, as a community, haven't said those beautiful words. We pray together, as a community, every Monday through Friday, and we include those words each time we pray and share a meal together. At dinner, we all sit around the table and carry on conversation about the day's happenings: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We laugh, we cry, and we comfort and support one another in the good times as well as the sad times, and that is what community life is. Being a part of a community here with the Lasallian Volunteers has given me the same feeling of family that I experienced at Saint Mary's College.
During my orientation as a Lasallian Volunteer, I was reminded that we volunteers are not just part of the community in which we serve, we're part of a larger and broader community that stretches around the world. We are all intertwined, and we are all trying to spread the good news that Saint John Baptist de La Salle instilled in the Christian Brothers and the young students he served. I know that wherever I travel, whether nationally or globally, I will always have a home to return to. I am honored to be serving the greater Minneapolis community, and I am looking forward to sharing my journey of service, hope, inspiration, and love with you.
To learn more about the Lasallian Volunteer program, visit http://www.cbconf.org.