from New Orleans, LA, I went to Christian Brothers
University in Memphis, TN for my Bachelors in Psychology.
The Lasallian Volunteers Program had been in the back of my
mind since my Freshman year in college. I always thought it
was neat that I could volunteer for a year in a field of
interest to me, live in a new and different city, reside
with the Christian Brothers in a community, and help others
all the while. When the time came to decide my after school
plans, I had no doubt in my mind that this is what I wanted
to do. Currently, I live with four Christian Brothers and
four other volunteers. There is never a dull moment!
When I came
on my site visit to see Highbridge Community Life Center, I
had an eye opening experience. The Highbridge neighborhood
really exemplified the word “community.” With the senior
citizens helping the young in the after school tutoring
program and the welcoming staff members, it was clear to me
that these people really are willing to help one another.
I work with
the Senior Citizens in the mornings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
daily. We coordinate programs to get them more involved in
the community. I’ve heard some seniors say that they used
to sit in their apartments all day and would never get out.
They say that HCLC has provided a program that has gotten
them more involved. They have met people in the
neighborhood and people who live in their very own building
who they are now best friends with. This is when I am
reminded that HCLC is really a great place. Some of my
favorite moments so far with the seniors have been visiting
with them in their homes, the car rides on our many trips,
and the funny comments that come from the “quiet” ones.
They truly are such a pleasure to work with and I love
hearing their stories.
I am also
involved with the Get and Give After School Program from 3
p.m. to 6 p.m. I work with the 4th-8th
graders who always keep me on my toes. They really are an
energetic, lively, and fascinating group of kids. This
program is effective in that it is not just homework help,
but rather a place to grow and learn more about themselves
and others. The kids start at a young age becoming familiar
with the Growing Assets, which will help them build their
self-esteem, become more academically motivated, and learn
social responsibility. I can already see some
world-changers in the program!
really a blessing to come from the South to the Bronx. I’ve
learned so much already after only being here a short time.
I am looking forward to the challenges and pleasures that
come my way in the next year.