CBL: Putting the “with” in “for and with others” – Clare Orie ’18

Though many unforgettable memories have certainly been during the allnighters in Dinand, with stocked up sugary candy and last minute 12:59 AM pre-Cool Beans-closing coffee, I have learned above all that it is the people, not the grades, that will make your four years at Holy Cross what they are. I say ‘people’ generally because it is precisely the variety of people I have been fortunate enough to engage with that have fundamentally shaped my time here.

Most certainly, my friends, Dinand usuals, professors, and many mentors make my days brighter and more fulfilling. However, Holy Cross has provided a very special avenue through which to create genuine relationships. Through Community-Based Learning, I have learned more than I could have ever given, and importantly, I have felt – felt the pride of recently arrived refugees showing me photos of their families and homes in their respective home countries, felt the motivation of non-English speakers trying to master job-readiness vocabulary, felt the fatigue of young students who worked untill close every day of the week, and felt the pain of asylum processes, war-torn communities, and separation of families. It is through this touch of heart over the past four years that I have developed such close relationships of shared humanity – shared joy, frustration, and communion – with so many different people.

In this way, CBL has personified a critical aspect of Holy Cross’ mission statement that I had long overlooked. It emphasizes being for others, but importantly, with others. It is through genuine communion – a togetherness in shared humanity – that we develop care for those around us, particularly, those victim to unjust systems that do not provide for all. To be with others, inherently means your struggle becomes mine; your joy becomes my joy.

My CBL experiences have instilled quite deeply in me a personal responsibility to those forgotten and disadvantaged by modern normative economic and political structures, nationally and globally. I have learned first-hand that is through feeling by contact, through the touch of the heart, that injustice at the micro and macro level begins to actually impact you beyond the immediate. It informs how you spend your days, what you care about, who you spend your time with, and what motivates you to work for justice and equality, especially in today’s world with tragedy plaguing our every day. I cannot express my gratitude to those who have opened their hearts to me – on and off campus- and in doing so, opened my heart to them, and to this world.

To CBL and Beyond – Jeff Warden ’18

To CBL and Beyond

As my four years rapidly come to a close here at Holy Cross, I’ve noticed myself reflecting on how I have spent my time here on the hill. The future can be frightening, and Holy Cross has given me a home and provided me with the tools I need to tackle whatever comes my way. The Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning has been one of those tools that has shaped my college career, and has given me a space to develop my skills, thoughts and passions. CBL has instilled in me priceless values that I will always carry with me as I continue my path of discernment. Within the office, we talk about the myriad of injustices facing different marginalized groups in our society, and it is imperative that we continue to have these conversations and act to mitigate these inequalities. These conversations and moments of experiential learning have cultivated a sense of urgency within me that I lacked before coming to college, but will now bring with me as I embark on the rest of my life journey.

Not only has CBL provided me with an encouraging group of peers on campus, but it has also given me the opportunity to connect with the greater Worcester community. I have learned just as much outside the gates of Holy Cross as I have within the walls of our numerous academic buildings. My role as a tutor in the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program at Ascentria Care Alliance has allowed me to share language, culture and memories with kids from different parts of the world. Through my time at Ascentria, I have been able to teach and to learn, to give and to receive. I will carry with me indelible memories of laughter and joy, and for that I am grateful. I am grateful that the people of Ascentria did not just open their doors; they opened their hearts as well.

My time both in the CBL office and in Worcester, have paved an avenue for me to develop my passions. They have provided me with a vocabulary and knowledge to discuss certain issues, and have planted within me the intellectual curiosity to always want to learn more. I will forever be grateful for my time as a community-based learning intern, as it has engendered a spark within me to strive to make this world a better place. Any time this thought becomes too daunting though, I always think back to Oscar Romero’s prayer, “A Step along the Way.” CBL has taught me that, “We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”