It is hard to believe that I have only been a CBL intern for around a month now. I am very grateful for the friendships I have built and knowledge I have learned that has so quickly accumulated. When I first applied to the CBL intern program, I knew that I would be joining a community of my peers who share the same passion for engaging with the Worcester community. It was not until I was fully immersed in this community, that I understood the dedication and passion that comes with this engagement. It has been rewarding to hear from the other interns about how passionate they are about volunteering at their CBL sites. For many (including myself!), it is the highlight of each week. I value learning from my peers about their perspectives on social justice issues and their passions to create change in our community.
Equally important as the relationships I have built in the CBL program, are those that I’ve built through my weekly visits to St. Mary Health Care Center. Every Saturday, I volunteer at the St. Mary Health Care Center, a rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility in downtown Worcester. At St. Mary’s I engage with residents through conversations, games, and other activities. During my first visit to St. Mary’s, I spent my time painting the nails of three residents. Upon entering the room, they told me that they already loved my presence and I eagerly told them it was reciprocated. After I painted their nails, they instantly told me they felt “young and beautiful.” I find it rewarding to know that I can help enrich the lives of others, even if it is something as simple as painting their nails to make them feel confident. Furthermore, I value the connections I have built with community members that have come out of these engagements because they have allowed me to understand diverse perspectives and reflect on my own. I believe that in order to make an impact on your community, you need to understand it first. By immersing myself in the community and being open to diverse perspectives and conversations, I have found that I can better understand my social responsibility and how to help the community better reach its needs.
Although my experience as a CBL intern has been short, it has been more impactful than I could have ever imagined. I have been able to explore outside of the Holy Cross bubble and thus better understand ways I can better advocate for the community. I am excited to continue deepening my engagement with the Worcester community and gain a deeper understanding from new perspectives.