Jesuit Volunteer Reflection
Published on February 1st, 2020 in Fair Share Housing Development
By Jesuit Volunteer School Henderson
More than halfway into my year working at the Margaret Donnelly O’Connor Education Center at Ethel Lawrence Homes, I cannot believe how quickly the months have flown by. When I first heard about the work that Fair Share Housing strived to do—providing affordable, community-based housing to low-income individuals and families—I was struck by its important mission. I have been inspired by the passionate individuals who work for this organization, as every employee goes above and beyond their role’s expectations, with a common goal to provide the best care and support for every member of this community. Further, I have been incredibly moved by the parents of our students who so generously offer their kindness, gratitude, and warmth to the entire community. It’s clear what a pivotal role parents and other adults in the Ethel Lawrence Homes community play in the lives of our kids. Despite the many challenges that our families face, so many of our parents continue to be present, attentive, and involved.
The children at the Education Center have captured my heart. When I met them last summer, I could not have imagined the amount of joy I would receive from all of the students. Something that continues to impress me is the childrens’ willingness to accept two new Jesuit Volunteers every year with open arms. Before starting my position here, I imagined there would be resistance from the kids in wanting to get to know me as the “new JV,” as I was replacing someone that they had gotten to know well and respected. Despite having to repeatedly develop relationships with new JVs every year, the kids are always welcoming, gracious, and willing to open themselves up—and I consider that to be such a special gift. I feel honored I’m able to work with kids who have unyielding passions, strengths, and potential. To be able to play even the smallest role in supporting our kids makes every day worthwhile. Whether it is helping a student understand how to add fractions or discussing acts of bullying going on at their school, I am grateful to be able to enter into that space with that child and simply be with them in those moments. Our kids radiate such light and energy into the world around them, and I cannot wait to continue to see them grow and flourish throughout the rest of my year here.