St. Mary’s College “Jan-Termers” spend their time off from college studies in Lasallian service

1/19/12 – Moraga, CA- This January, as most college students are preparing to return to campus life after their Christmas / semester break, a total of of 53 St. Mary’s College students were working in 21 ministry sites (40 students working in 12 International ministry sites). From January 3 – 27, after meeting strict application guidelines and expectations, these Christian Service Internship (CSI) students have been placed all over the U.S. and the globe to be of assistance at some of the toughest Lasallian sites, where faith, service, and community are needed most. These “Jan-Termers,” much like the Lasallian Volunteers, live and pray with Brothers in their communities, and serve at different Lasallian educational sites.

In the District of Eastern North America, four SMC Gaels are serving at La Salle School (Albany, NY) and Tides Family Services (Pawtucket, RI). As part of the CSI program, students are asked to journal their experiences, and submit reflections to Br. Michael Avila, FSC, Director of the program, that has been part of St. Mary’s College since 1985. Below, and in the linked pages that follow are the “First Impressions” of the students serving in DENA.

Albany, New York – La Salle School

Freddy Grande
Sophomore – Polictical Science / Film

January 8, 2012 – I arrived in Albany, NY on January 3rd at around six o’clock in the evening. I arrived and was greeted by a lasallian volunteer stationed here in Albany. His name is Alex Branch and he graduated as an integral major in 2010. We waited for Paul, my fellow Jan Term student. We arrived at the house around eight thirty in the evening and received a warm greeting by Brother John. He kindly welcomed us and took us to get something to eat.

We went to sleep shortly afterward and we woke up the next morning to meet Felix the chef, who works in the Brothers’ house. After we were done eating, Andres, another Lasallian volunteer and also SMC alumni, took us to get our id’s from Stephanie Russell, head of Human Resources. Since there was no camera in her office, we could not get our id’s until the next day. We then followed Andres to his office that he shares with Alex at the recreation center located a few feet away from the school. We met some of the staff there and then we were asked if we wanted to go bowling, or go to open gym. I went bowling with some of the kids and Paul headed towards the gym. Read more >

Paul Perez
Senior – Business/Communication

January 9, 2012 – I arrived in Albany on Tuesday Jan 3rd at 8pm. Freddy my fellow Jan Term volunteer, was waiting for me along with Alex Branch, one of the two Lasallian volunteers (SMC Alum 2010). When we arrived to the Brothers house, we were greeted by Brother John, who showed us to our rooms and had dinner prepared for us. He told us a little about what we were doing and then we sat down and talked with the two volunteers Alex and Andres Aguillar (SMC alum 2011). We spent the rest of the evening watching TV and discussion life here in Albany.

On Wednesday, Freddy and I were allowed to sleep in and we were excused from morning prayer, which occurs every morning mon-fri at 7:30 am. After prayer, I hung around until lunch at 11:30. Lunches and dinners are excellent; they are prepared by our chef, Felix. After lunch, Andres took Freddy and I I to meet with the head human resources, Ms. Russell. She gave us a brief run down of what we would be doing and went over all our paper work and got us ID’s to be allowed on campus. Read more >

Pawtucket, Rhode Island – Tides Family Services

Alexis Hernandez
Junior – Integral Liberal Arts

January 8, 2012 – After twelve hours of traveling, I arrived in Providence, Rhode Island to the smiling face of Brother Michael Reis. Immediately I felt very welcomed by him and the entire community. That night we had dinner with the entire community, a nightly tradition, and we were introduced to the lovely Lasallian Volunteers that work here in Rhode Island. Every night we have continued to have evening prayer and dinner, it has really helped to establish a connection with these new people and in no time at all it felt as though I were a part of a new family.

The day after arriving, I was taken to the agency of Tides Family Services and was placed in the department where I will be spending the month. I will be shadowing a caseworker and will begin tracking and working with at-risk-youth in the community. The first day we were introduced to procedures and job expectations. Hearing about the clients and their families made me eager to meet them. It has become immediately apparent that in this environment, nothing can be predicted and that nothing is ever what you think it will be. Read more >

Bianca Padilla
Senior – Communication

January 10, 2012 – I arrived in Providence, Rhode Island after a five-hour flight, a lay over in North Carolina, another half hour flight after that and a three-hour time zone change. I arrived at six o’clock pm, three o’clock western time on Tuesday, January 3rd. During my flight, I slept most of the time, giving me energy when landing at the airport. The night before I left, I could not sleep knowing I had to be up at 3:30am, I still was not able to fall asleep until at 1:30am. I was anxious and nervous not knowing what to expect. The entire day before, all I could do was think and wonder what it was like to be in Rhode Island, what were the people like whom I would be living with and working with. I was nervous that I would not feel comfortable or that I would feel out of place and feel homesick.

The moment I met Christy at the airport, I felt a sense of ease. Christy was very welcoming and introduced herself with a smile. She asked me questions as to how my flight was and told me a little about herself and her position as a Lasallian volunteer. We took about a ten-minute drive to the house, all the while feeling better and better about the situation and calming my nerves. As we got to the house, or the community, as some of the Pawtucket citizens call it, I had an overwhelming feeling. The house was HUGE! As soon as we walked in, Christy showed me to my room, I put my bags down and went on a tour. The house has about thirteen bedrooms, eight bathrooms, two television rooms and other random rooms. There is also a washer and dryer in the basement as well as a small fitness room. She explained to me that the house used to be a convent and now two Brothers lived in it and the Lasallian volunteers as well as any other visitors from other communities etc. could stay over as well. Read more >



To learn more about the Christian Service Internship, click here >