Congratulations to our Fall 2014 Marshall Memorial Fund Grant Recipients:
• Sarah Curran and Alexander Pagan-Mejia were awarded funds to purchase supplies in order to create Thanksgiving baskets for families of the Nativity School of Worcester.
• Naomi-Ann Gaspard and Jessica Rodriguez were awarded funds to coordinate a college visit for the members of Girl’s CHOICE.
• Anthony Criscitiello and Mary Patrice Hamilton were awarded funds to establish a honeybee hive on campus for educational and research purposes.
• Rebecca Sewell was awarded funds to purchase supplies for the Girls, Inc. “College Shower.” The “College Shower” is an event that celebrates the life transition of students beginning college.
• Kristen Paadre and Abbey Wilkman were awarded funds to purchase thank you gifts from the Holy Cross bookstore for eight middle school girls participating in an educational research project at St. Peter Central Catholic School.
• Professor Bridget Franco was awarded funds to support the purchase of supplies and refreshments for her Spanish 305 CBL site visits with the Latino Elders Program and the “Third Day” Program at St. Peter’s Assumption Center.
• Andrea Gendron was awarded funds to purchase supplies for activities with the WPS Transition Program and the WPS Deafblind/Low Vision/Blind Department.
Every fall for the past three years, I have helped high school students write their college essays as my CBL site. When I started working for this program, I had the mindset that most Holy Cross students have while doing community service – I thought that I was going to make a huge impact on all of their lives. I was wrong. I know this sounds cheesy, but the students have taught me so much more about life and what’s important than I can even begin to teach them.
Before working with these students I thought I was a strong person who could overcome any challenge that may get in my way. However, I have never really been in a position yet, especially during my childhood, that I needed to deal with a very difficult situation. In the course of my time at this CBL site, I’ve read about 60 college essays, and every single one of them has proven to me what true strength is.
I have worked with a student who lived in a one-room shack in India with 10 people and no running water. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting two students who came to the U.S. from Iraq during the war. I’ve gotten to know a student who has struggled to tell his family that he is gay. I’ve worked with a student who was homeless for three years. I’ve talked at length with a student who lived in a Refugee camp in Nepal. And those are only a few examples of the amazing people I have worked with over the years at my site. Despite these incredible challenges, all of them are so determined to rise above their difficult situations and make better lives for themselves through education.
I have found that the key to CBL is being open to really getting to know the population you are interacting with on a weekly basis. The more that I’ve learned about the students on a personal level, the more I’ve been able to critically look at myself and think about how I want to live my own life.
Kristen Kelley, ’15
Wow! I cannot believe I am typing this blog post as a senior CBL Intern. Where has the time gone? Even as an experienced CBL student, I still feel as though there are always things that I could use a refresher on, or at least an opportunity to examine things in a new light. Do you sometimes feel this way?
For this post, I am going to discuss the topic of mental presence and engagement during CBL site visits. As the semester becomes hectic, it becomes more difficult to really appreciate the time I put into my CBL site, because even when I am physically engaged at the site, my mind can be elsewhere. I think it is safe to say that other CBL students may feel this way as well, especially now that we are fully immersed in papers, exams, and various on-campus activities.
“When is that paper due? What am I even writing that paper about? What time are office hours? Did I remind my roommate that I am not going to be back until late tonight?” The crazy stream of consciousness that is constantly churning in a Holy Cross student’s mind can be hard to suppress or even fully appreciate.
After years of participating in CBL opportunities, I still sometimes struggle to be mentally engaged at all times. So, what is a busy student to do? My recommendation is to practice mindfulness at your CBL site.
What does this mean? It means allowing yourself to focus specifically on each task as it happens, instead of worrying about upcoming tasks, whether they are a product of your site or of your impending work schedule. Focus on the math problem that you are helping a high school student to solve, or the donation collection that you are in the midst of organizing. Once you break down the experience into smaller pieces, you are able to more fully absorb events as they occur and you will ultimately learn how to fully appreciate them.