The District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO) is pleased to welcome six Lasallian Volunteers (LV) who will be serving in the District during the 2018-2019 school year. While each one is new to SFNO, they bring to the District the familiar and welcome Lasallian Volunteer spirit and gifts.
Third-year LV Rachel Bowers and second-year LV Ashley Weinberger will be serving at San Miguel High School and De La Salle Academy respectively. First-year LVs Savannah Mattox and Julia Mach also will serve at San Miguel High School and De La Salle Academy respectively. Serving at De Marillac Academy will be first-year LVs Rachel Aubart and Zach Javorsky.
Rachel Aubart is originally from Minneapolis, MN. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. Rachel is also a graduate of De La Salle High School in Minneapolis, which is where she first learned about LVs. At De Marillac Academy, her responsibilities include middle school support teacher, teaching 7th grade PE and digital literacy and 6th grade PE. Rachel says, “I love that the Lasallian Volunteer program sends volunteers to help schools who help students who might not usually be able to get such good education.”
Reflecting on her LV experience so far, Rachel offers, “The most memorable part so far definitely has been my placement at DeMarillac. It is such a welcoming community and even though I’m new, I feel comfortable and included. The staff and students are both wonderful, and the brothers have been welcoming and enjoyable.”
Rachel Bowers calls Philadelphia, PA home. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University – Abington Campus, she holds a bachelor’s degree in psychological and social sciences. Rachel was inspired to join LVs by her brother, Daniel Bowers, who was a Lasallian Volunteer 2014-16 in Chicago, IL. “His service inspired me to jump into the mission, respond to God’s call, and serve those in need,” she says. “I am now in my third year as an LV and it is safe to say that I am hooked on the mission!” Rachel’s roles at San Miguel include Student Electives Coordinator and Lasallian Youth Director.
Rachel find affirmation of her LV commitment in the impact that she sees taking place around her. “I have witnessed,” she comments, “that Lasallians who are dedicated to the mission can bring life, support, and opportunity to a community that once had none. This in and of itself is inspiring enough to give a few years of my life to serve as a volunteer.”
Zach Javorsky hails from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA with a degree in economics and environmental Studies. Zach’s responsibilities this year at De Marillac Academy include 4th/5th grade support teacher, teaching Digital Literacy and PE class and working with the academic resource team. First becoming aware of LVs while attending Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, Zach reflects, “The thing the that most motivated me to be an LV was the desire to give back and to be able to be a positive influence for the students that I serve.”
The work of the Lasallian family in the mission of the Church has made an impression on Zach. “Being an LV means that you are a part of community that spans many dioceses and schools, he observes. “Being part of this community has opened my eyes to the role Catholicism plays in communities around the country and the world.”
Julia Mach is a native of Mount Prospect, IL and attended Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, earning degrees in English and in secondary education. At De La Salle Aacademy, she is co-teaching Language Arts to 5th, 7th, and 8th graders, and also is the PE teacher for 6th and 8th grades. Her introduction to LVs came via the Lewis ministry staff. “I liked,” she recalls, “that I would be getting experience in my field. I also liked that I would be surrounded by Brothers who make it part of their mission to be lifelong teachers. I figured, who better to learn about how to become a better teacher than from a Christian Brother.”
Asked what it means to her to be an LV, Julia answered, “If there is one thing I have learned in my time of being an LV and what I think perfectly defines what it means to be a Lasallian Volunteer, it is the phrase ‘one should anticipate the needs of others.’”
Savannah Mattox was born and raised in Pittsburg, CA. Attending Saint Mary’s College of California, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in ethnic studies. At San Miguel, Savannah is the school’s El Otro Lado Border Immersion Assistant. Inspired to join LVs in her spring, 2018 semester at Saint Mary’s, an early memorable experience was a site visit with Sister Jodi Min of Saint Mary’s to a Nogales, Mexico sanctuary site for women and children from South andCentral America and Mexico who are seeking asylum and financial opportunity for themselves and their families.
Savannah says about the LV movement, “It is truly somewhere you enter to learn and leave to serve, being holistically empathetic and channeling Lasallian principles in your journey toward creating meaningful, positive impact.”
Ashley Weinberger comes from Philadelphia, PA, where she attended La Salle University, receiving bachelor’s degrees in early and special education, as well as in American Studies. At De La Salle Academy this year, she is teaching 5th and 6th science, co-teaching 6th language arts, and assisting with 5th grade guidance and the mentor program. Introduced to LVs through another LV’s presentation at La Salle, Ashley remembers, “I actually wasn’t planning to join. I had applied to go to Jamaica and stay in the Brothers’ community there. The Brother in that community connected us with the LVs and that’s how I joined.”
For Ashley, life as an LV comes down to a few important elements. “Being a Lasallian Volunteer,” she explains, “means that you are dedicated to helping and educating the poor. Whether you are working directly in a school, working in the social justice field, or doing social work, it all falls there.”
Lasallian Volunteers was established in the early 1980s in response to the needs of the poor served by the De La Salle Christian Brothers in the Midwest and in New York. Sponsored by Christian Brothers Conference, LVs has grown into a national movement of college graduates who live and train in Brothers communities that serve high-need populations through Lasallian ministries across the United States. To date, well over 700 volunteers have participated in this intense program of faith, service and community.
All photos courtesy Lasallian Volunteers.