“Take What You Need” – Hannah Benson ’20

A few years back a fellow CBL intern, Kara Cuzzone ‘19 and I started posting little sheets of paper outside the CBL office door. If you have ever passed by our door in Smith Hall I hope you have noticed how decorated it is with events, quotes, and artwork. The inspiration for this came from a journal account on Instagram that wrote plain and simple, “take what you need” with perforated tabs inviting a passerby to simply rip off a word from the bottom of the sheet. Kara and I wrote things like wisdom, peace, love, hope, passion, and confidence and it has been popular ever since. This was a peaceful project for us too, as every few weeks the sheets would become empty and we would draw another one.

When Kara graduated I really started to miss her artistic talent so I took to my computer and found that the Canva app could give me at least the appearance of artistic talent. I also found that I could print more pages, have more variety, and add more color to the idea. Just to spend a few minutes each week thinking of a holiday themed page or a new Spanish phrase was something I really enjoyed. It still baffles me today that people actually take them. I remember sitting in the office one night with the door slightly open and I kept hearing noises at the door. In the moment, I assumed it was another intern trying to play a trick on me, but as I was leaving, I realized all the words were gone and I had just witnessed people visiting the door. 

I have expressed to some trusted mentors these past few weeks that what makes me most nervous about the abrupt end of my last year at Holy Cross is that I have to be apart from everyone. I know I am not alone when I say I feel like I can get through anything if I can sit with my closest friends and laugh, hug, and cry about it. So, our last few days on the hill were bearable but now comes the hard part.

This shift to remote classes means you can’t pick up a slip of paper from the door of the CBL office when you truly need it most. It means I won’t walk into the office next week to create a new page and hang it up. So, I find myself adjusting, as we all have recently, to see if we can make what was once so accessible in person, available in the digital world we now live in. These days we have a responsibility to one another to just simply check in. Even if it’s just a word or two, it can make a difference, just like a word from the door. I am confident that if we do this well it can feel like we are together again and we can get through anything. 

If you are someone who frequently took a word or phrase from the CBL door for yourself or to share with a friend, please reach out! Though we may not physically be together, a hope and goal of the CBL interns is to continue to cultivate community. So, if you are in need of a word or saying to lift you up on a long day just send an email to CommunityBasedLearning@holycross.edu with the subject “Words from the CBL Door,” and I will make sure you get one!

Staying True to Our Mission in Unprecedented Times: Continuing with CBL In Virtual and Remote Ways – Isabelle Jenkins, Associate Director, Donelan Office of CBL

The drastic changes to the academic program due to the coronavirus pandemic have certainly impacted Community-Based Learning (and all of the programs in the J.D. Power Center). We continue to be deeply sorry that the semester had to be cut short in the way that it has, and we continue to be available to support our CBL students, our CBL faculty, and our community partners. These are unprecedented times, but the community that has been built through CBL is lifting us up and helping us navigate this unchartered territory.

One way we have felt uplifted is through brainstorming how CBL, volunteering, and other forms of experiential learning can continue in remote and virtual ways. Some of our community partners, students, faculty, and folks from the wider AJCU and service-learning networks have shared ideas with us about continuing CBL and other service-related work. Interested in continuing volunteering in some way? Review the suggestions here and report back to us about what you’ve been up to! Questions about any of these suggestions? Reach out to Community-Based Learning.

Current CBL Community Partners Looking for Remote/Virtual Assistance (Contact Isabelle Jenkins in the Donelan Office to learn more and get connected):

This list contains remote/virtual tasks specific community partners have reported to us that they need at this time. It is preferable that students who have already worked with these organizations sign up for this work, but community partners are also happy to take on new volunteers. We will share additional volunteer opportunities as we hear from our partners.

Ways YOU Can Offer to Stay Involved with your Community Partner:

Don’t see your community partner or an opportunity of interest to you listed in the previous section? If your current community partner or other agencies you are connected to remain operational, you can reach out to them directly to see if they are in need of your remote/virtual support. You could offer to:

  • Create marketing, social media content, or other print materials for future use
  • Support the development team by researching grant opportunities
  • Assist in communications with their students/clients/residents
  • Conducting virtual or phone-based educational supports for youth and adults
  • Conducting background research or gathering best practices or other information your partner could find useful
  • Assisting in any assessment, evaluation, or feedback processes via phone or web-based services

National/International Virtual Volunteering Suggestions:

There are a few websites that provide suggestions for online volunteering with national and international organizations:

 General Ways to Support/Volunteer/Assist Others During this Time:

There are “unofficial” but important ways to support and assist others in your communities and in your networks doing this time:

  • Google Hangout/Facetime conversations to counteract the physical social isolation
  • Collect extra craft/art supplies, books, videos for families with kids at home
  • A kind note/letter to organizations staying open to serve communities at this point in time
  • Interrupt xenophobic reactions on social media or in conversations
  • Calls or emails to elected officials to advocate on behalf of needs in this time
  • Notes of thanks to those in leadership roles or in positions that are not able to stay home

While the coronavirus pandemic has called us to change our patterns of behavior and our interactions with each other, it has not changed our responsibilities to one another, and it has not changed the Holy Cross mission of standing for and with others. Staying connected to your communities in virtual and remote ways either though official opportunities or through general care and concern is a way to continue to enact the Holy Cross mission and to continue your experiential learning and growth. The Donelan Office and the J.D. Power Center are here to assist you in this important work.