Thank you to Our Community Partners! – Elaines Peña ’18

On Tuesday, April 4th, CBL Intern, Elaines Peña ’18 acknowledged and thanked our community partners for all that they do to serve as co-educators of Holy Cross students. Thank you, Community Partners! Read Elaines’ speech below.

First I would like to begin by thanking all of you for being here today and for all that you do in hosting Holy Cross students at your sites. Through my experience as a community based learning intern I have witnessed the impact that working in the city of Worcester has on the students here. Personally, community based learning has allowed me to find my passion for justice. Through classes such as Exploring Differences, Liberation Theology, as well as Women and Gender studies, students are able to read and talk about the injustices that occur in the world around us, but through community based learning everything we read about becomes a reality As students we are able to form meaningful relationships, with people at our sites, which inspires us to get to the root of the problems in our society.

I would like to take this opportunity to speak about the importance of CBL in my own life. Through my community based learning experiences I have been able to find a community in which I feel at home. Coming to Holy Cross from Boston, it is easy to forget the realities of life. CBL has kept me grounded on what truly matters to me and to the members of the Worcester community. I have had the privilege of meeting wonderful people through CBL at St. Mary’s, the Assumption Center, and now at Daybreak. When I was at Girls with Dreams, my supervisor, Anne Kane, had a profound influence on me. The semesters that I spent there were filled with kindness, love, and tremendous guidance. From the very first day I arrived until the very last day Anne trusted me and allowed me to grow as a person. I especially want to thank Anne for pushing me to take on a bigger role at Girls with Dreams by giving a presentation to the girls. Anne was able to see something in me, that I didn’t even know was there. My time at Girls with Dreams helped me grow in more ways than one, and I am so thankful for the time I got to spend there every week. It amazes me that Anne and all of the wonderful community partners take the time out of their busy schedules to make Holy Cross students feel so involved and valued at their sites. Although we are there to volunteer and help you all out, many times we are the ones who benefit because we learn so much.

The lessons we learn at CBL allow us to come back to Holy Cross and ask tough questions in the classroom in order to have meaningful conversations about the structural reasons behind inequalities. These conversations and experiences remind us what it means to be “men and women for and with others”- which is such an important part of the Holy Cross mission.

To end, I want to thank you all again on behalf of the Holy Cross students that participate in CBL and are engaged in the city of Worcester.

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