Giving Back and Serving Others – Yesenia Gutierrez ’21

When I was a first-year student at Holy Cross, I took a Montserrat course that had a CBL component. For my CBL, I decided to serve at a high school program called Positive Directions at South Community High School. At this site, I had the opportunity to serve first-year high school students with their academics and also serve them as a friend or mentor. During the year, I was able to connect with the students since both the students and I were going through important phases in our lives where we were transitioning into a foreign place. Serving at Positive Directions allowed me to feel like I was giving back to my community because as a first-generation college student, I know how difficult it can be at times to believe that you can achieve your academic aspirations, and sometimes you need someone whom you can look up to. When I was in high school, I was part of a program called AVID, which serves first-generation college students. If it weren’t for the volunteers that came into the classroom to tutor and mentor me, I feel I wouldn’t be in the position that I am in now. Thanks to their mentorship, I had someone I looked up to, and, on top of that, I had someone who believed in me. Those emotions that I felt as a freshman in high school is what I hope I can radiate to my students when I go to my CBL site. Now as a sophomore on the hill, I continue to work with Positive Directions and it has been an amazing journey to meet new students who have joined the after-school program and continue working with the students who I also worked with last year. Observing their progress and interest in school is what makes my service worthwhile and makes me feel like I have a purpose in my community that I am residing in.

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