The holiday season is a time of giving, and the Christian Brothers community has been very involved in a variety of community service activities this season, including the Yes We Can Food Drive, donations for the Camp Fire victims, Sixty Seconds of Service, and the Oak Ridge Toy Drive. There are many ways to get […]
The holiday season is a time of giving, and the Christian Brothers community has been very involved in a variety of community service activities this season, including the Yes We Can Food Drive, donations for the Camp Fire victims, Sixty Seconds of Service, and the Oak Ridge Toy Drive. There are many ways to get involved; even if many of the problems our community faces do not directly impact us, it is still our responsibility to help.
Director of Christian Service Ms. Geralyn Grapé believes that “each student that walks on campus is a Lasallian youth.”
Being a Lasallian youth means following in St. John Baptist de La Salle’s path and fulfilling his mission. As part of the Christian Brothers community, we should follow his example and continue his work to help others.
“We’re carrying the name of St. John,” Ms. Grapé explains, emphasizing the principle of solidarity or “oneness with other people.”
“When they’re going through something, as part of the CB community, we’re in solidarity with that person. It’s not that doesn’t affect me because it’s not me.”
However, it’s extremely easy to focus only on our own problems and forget about others, especially during the stress of finals time and the general chaos of school life. Many of us barely have enough time to accomplish everything we need to for school and ourselves, let alone sacrifice precious time to benefit our community.
“Sometimes we lose sight of that, because we’re busy, but it’s kind of like brushing our teeth,” Ms. Grapé explains. “We don’t forget to brush our teeth; we don’t forget to be Lasallian youth, we don’t forget to be of service to others like De La Salle did.”
Service can also help us gain a deeper understanding of the challenges others face.
“Service allows you to look at a broader perspective in caring for others, caring not just about yourself but for the community,” Ms. Grapé says.
Even when we’re really busy, we can help out in others ways besides volunteering time, such as donating to various organizations. When we do have time and would like to participate in community service activities, Ms. Grapé recommends students talk to her if they need suggestions and guidance. Currently, there are numerous opportunities available on x2VOL, Falcon Family News, and KBFT, and Ms. Grapé is working to build an app to notify students about additional activities to make the information easily available.
She also plans to provide more opportunities for students. Currently, she is working with Loaves & Fishes, Mercy House, Peace Park, and Mary House among others “to establish a formal relationship with nonprofits.” Establishing those connections will make it easier for students to find local volunteer opportunities.
“I think the activities that are the most meaningful are the ones that interest students. I’m hoping that sometime in the near future we’re able to connect Christian service with disciplines,” the Director of Christian Service says. “The engineering program will be connected with Habitat for Humanity building homes. I’m connecting the fine arts department with Bishop Gallegos.”
Bishop Gallegos provides a home for pregnant women in need of shelter, food, safety, and comfort. These connections allow students to apply their skills and passions to benefit their community and integrate Christian service into their lives and future careers.
Christian service is an adventure and a time for self-exploration that can help us explore our passions and discover what really interests us. Ms. Grapé encourages students to try new things; even if we do not enjoy a new activity, at least we tried it and hopefully we learned something new, whether it is a different perspective or something about ourselves.
“What you do in Christian service is not just racking hours, but it’s really about what you love and finding…who you are.”