A Month of Gratitude
This April, I have been fortunate enough to have two wonderful experiences that have allowed me to show and express my gratitude towards the Community-Based Learning (CBL) Office. On April 4, I was able to ‘co-host’ the Community Partner Reception with Ms. Isabelle Jenkins, the Associate Director of the CBL Office. The event is a yearly tradition in which organizations in the Worcester community that partner with Holy Cross are invited to campus for a light reception, and are recognized and thanked for their collaboration with Holy Cross and the work that they do in Worcester. It is a chance to thank all the community partners at once, and express our gratitude for time and effort that they devote as they work to make Worcester a better place. This year, the event was sponsored by the CBL Office, Government and Community Relations, the Teacher Education Program, and Student Programs for Urban Development, and Elaines Peña ’18 and Sean Teebagy ’17 gave speeches to thank all the community partners. They both spoke eloquently and passionately about how grateful they were to have experiences in the community that helped shape their worldview. They also spoke about how thankful they were to the community partners for their collaboration with Holy Cross students, and for providing so many with the opportunity to experience Worcester and to ask the tough questions in the classroom that lead to so many meaningful dialogues. It was great to hear the speeches from the two students, and their words were such a wonderful ode of gratitude to the hard but necessary work of the community partners.
Later this month on April 11, Joe Donelan made a visit to Holy Cross. Along with several other CBL students, I was able to meet with Joe Donelan, the alumnus from the class of 1972 that gave the $1.2 million gift that established the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning – us! It was a wonderful opportunity to hear about his passion and motivation for donating and establishing the CBL Office. He spoke candidly about his experience here at Holy Cross, and his vision for the CBL Office and for students doing CBL work. I was moved by his continued passion and interest in seeing the CBL Office continue to thrive as well as his ability to ask tough questions and challenge us to think. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect on my experience here at Holy Cross, and I found myself very grateful for my formative CBL courses in both my first and second year.
As a graduating senior, these two events have really allowed me to reflect on how much I have grown as a result of my engagement in and with the Worcester community, and they make me forever grateful for my academic and community-based learning experiences.