This semester is truly flying by as there is less than one month left! My first semester being a CBL Intern has been nothing but a positive experience. I feel an immense amount of pride while surrounded by an Intern team that is passionate about community-based learning, social justice, and engaging with the Worcester community.
As my Junior year is well underway, I can say I feel very grateful for the friends I have met, the experiences I have had, and the future endeavors I have in front of me. This semester I have been fortunate to be with the community partner WPS Transition, while also taking on the program coordinator role. With the addition of the CBL Intern Program and volunteering with WPS Transition, I have gained a greater insight into the importance of community at Holy Cross.
The WPS Transition Program is designed for 18-22 year old young adults who have intellectual disabilities. The young adults are preparing for their adult-life through community learning experiences. Every Monday the young adults come to campus for their day program. Interacting with the young adults, their paraprofessional, and their teachers quickly became the highlight of my week! As Coordinators for WPS Transition, we have put an emphasis on creating a social, welcoming, and fun environment at the program. We have spent our weeks touring different parts of campus to show the young adults a part of our lives, while learning more about them as well. The past few Mondays have consisted of blanket making and crafts in preparation for the Holy Cross Holiday Craft Fair!
I have found a lot of gratitude and enjoyment in working alongside the young adults while making tie blankets for the craft fair. Rather than getting wrapped up in my busy schedule and looking at my volunteering hours as yet another commitment, I have learned to lean into it and be grateful for the two hours I get to spend with the WPS Transition students. I have found a lot of joy in prepping the holiday crafts, listening to Christmas music, and hearing about the young adults’ weekends while working on the tie blankets. It is a wonderful feeling to be content in the company of others, and that is what I have gained through my CBL experience! By being able to create crafts and tie blankets for the past few weeks, it feels like we are all working as a team towards a common goal.
While working with the Transition Program, I have felt emotions that align with happiness, but I have also felt confusion or anxiety about certain situations. Yet, I have learned to find gratitude for all the emotions I endure while at CBL. Every interaction or instance can be a learning experience. The main lessons I have learned from the young adults is to find happiness in the simple things, trust those around you, and create meaningful and lasting relationships.