“Reflecting on My First Year as a CBL Intern” – Anthony Mabardy ’24

I served my first full year as a CBL Intern this past school year. Reflecting on the year, I realized how amazing of an experience it was for me. As a member of the class of 2024, my sophomore year was my first year being fully on campus and in-person at Holy Cross. It was definitely a big adjustment for me because classes were back in person for the first time since my senior year of high school. Clubs, extracurriculars, and CBL sites were starting to gather in-person again. While I did face some challenges adjusting to the world around me returning to somewhat “normal,” I was able to make the most of the situation and learned a lot about myself in the process.

First, I participated in CBL during my spring semester of Freshman year, being  completely on zoom with the Nativity School of Worcester. This past school year, I was lucky enough to be able to return to the Nativity School in-person with the same students that I had tutored on zoom the previous semester. It was an amazing experience getting to meet them in person and work with them to the best of my abilities. Reflecting on this experience, I realized how much these students meant to me as well as that strive I get when being able to make in-person connections with others: noticing how much more I was able to connect with the students I was tutoring while in person and the more I learned about them and myself during our weekly sessions. Additionally, I gained a lot with working with young children, as it requires patience and making genuine connections with them. All in all, I had an unforgettable experience working with the students at the Nativity School of Worcester and learned a lot about the students and myself in the process. 

I enjoyed being a part of the CBL Intern Program this past year for the first time. Not only did it allow me to continue with the program, it also provided me with a great group of friends that I learned a lot from. Being able to listen to the experiences of others allowed me to learn lessons from countless sites despite not having the time to visit each of them on my own. The CBL intern community creates an inclusive environment for others to share their experiences which allowed me to teach others about what I learned from the students at the Nativity School as well. Having the space to allow for these discussions has allowed me to put my time spent in CBL into context in my life. This has been very beneficial for me and has allowed me to grow as a person and as a CBL intern. I also enjoyed being able to meet with other CBL students to give them feedback on their journals and push them to reflect on their experiences. This allowed them to learn more about themselves and brought me great joy knowing that I was able to help someone become a better version of themselves.

In conclusion, I had an amazing experience as an intern this past year and am beyond excited for the year that is to come. I have learned a lot in the past year, I am looking forward to new experiences and to learning more about myself and learning from others.

“Reflecting on my Summer in Worcester” – Sarah Ayers ’23

Being a CBL Intern has changed the course of my life. It sounds dramatic, but as a senior beginning my final year at Holy Cross, I feel that I can finally say that and truly mean it. Through the Donelan Office, my understanding of community service and the world of non-profits has grown significantly. I have participated in three different CBL agencies at this point, and all of these opportunities have allowed me to explore and further realize my passion for working and making connections with others. My time as a CBL intern has influenced my life on and off campus. I made new friendships, learned new skills, and even changed my future career path all thanks to my time as an intern. Looking ahead to my final year participating in CBL, I am happy to say that I am the most excited I have ever been to begin volunteering with my partner. Usually, I am full of nervous energy before my first visit, but for the first time, I will not be stepping into an unfamiliar environment but one that I know fairly well. This summer I interned at the Nativity School of Worcester, and I will spend the year tutoring there for two hours each week. 

The mission of Nativity and the important place it holds in the Worcester community both exemplify why it is an excellent place for students to learn the value of service. The Nativity school model is unlike any other school I had experienced prior to this summer. It is an all-boys, tuition-free, Catholic school that aims to provide students living in low-income areas with a learning environment that enables them to succeed. While at school from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm every day, students are given two meals and offered various snacks throughout the day. While the days are long, it is clear that the school serves as a second home for the students. Teachers and faculty members build incredible bonds with students that go far beyond the classroom. This summer I felt honored to be welcomed into this incredible community. Every member—teachers, students, and faculty—truly care about one another. It is a community characterized by joy and love, and for me, it was the embodiment of the Jesuit values that I have spent the past three years learning about. Human dignity is at the center of Nativity’s mission. Teachers make every effort to help students grow as human beings rather than solely focusing on their academic abilities. I got to spend three weeks in the classroom with the sixth graders, and by the end of my internship, I was shocked at how upset I was to leave behind the relationships I made at Nativity. I could tell the students trusted me and that meant more to me than I ever could have imagined. Rather than scaring me away from teaching, as I thought it would, my experience this summer reassured me that teaching may be the career for me. It is difficult, however, to imagine being a teacher anywhere but Nativity. 

Thankfully, I have the opportunity to return to Nativity as a tutor this semester. One of my favorite aspects of CBL is the fact that participants are encouraged to make connections that go beyond the surface level and that extend past one’s time spent with their partner. Returning to Nativity gives me the chance to continue strengthening the relationships I have already formed. I get to continue showing up for the students I spent the summer with even if it is only for two hours a week. There is one final aspect of my internship at Nativity that contributed to my appreciation of my time there. As I mentioned, Nativity plays an important role in the Worcester community. Nativity students and alumni reside in Worcester, and their family members are business owners, local politicians, and advocates for their community. I had never felt as connected to Worcester as I did during my two months at Nativity. One of the great things about CBL is how it encourages students to leave the hill and experience the city that we call home for eight months out of the year. Through Nativity and learning from the experiences of the students and their families, I finally feel that I am not just a student that attends a school in Worcester. I am a member of the Worcester community as well. I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue building upon the connections I made this summer with the students and the city alike.