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Erica Sage

[Erica at work]

Originally 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! 

It is 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. 

Highbridge Community Life Center: 979 Ogden Ave, Bronx, NY 10452  Phone: (718) 681-2222
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