Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Carmel Stralen: Artisans Reflection

One of my favorite parts of being apart of Knights and Setons is the service we are able to do with The Artisans of Spokane each week. Over the course of last semester I was able to visit my mentee Samantha every week and go on a few really fun outings with her. In the beginning of the year, we set goals for what she wanted to work on throughout the year which included reading books, coloring, and having fun. So far, I have been able to see Samantha’s conīŦdence continue to climb each time I see her. We had a blast at the Christmas Dance together where we danced, took pictures with Santa, and ate a lot of food. This semester, I was so excited to come back and continue to bond with Samantha.
This past week, when at The Artisans for my weekly service, Samantha and I colored a Valentine’s picture and talked about who we wanted to win the Super Bowl. She also took on another one of the mentees in a game of Wii Bowling and I was so happy to see her having fun and enjoying the time we spend together. For the remainder of the semester I hope Samantha and I continue to grow closer and work on achieving the goals we set at the beginning of the year.

- Carmel Stralen
Seton of Gonzaga

Ben Wahlman: Artisans Reflection

My experience as a Knight of Gonzaga thus far has exceeded anything that I could’ve possibly imagined. The weekly service that we do is the pinnacle of my week. As many of you may know, both the Knights and Setons of Gonzaga are involved with a group called The Artisans. Through The Artisans, each student is assigned a mentee throughout the school year where we help an adult with special disabilities make progress, in hopes of bringing them out into society and finding jobs and creating amazing lives for them and the people around them. My mentee’s name is Neil and I can say that my time with Neil has truly changed my life. Before I came to Gonzaga, I had a little experience with mentally disabled adults, as my cousin has down syndrome. I had worked with him before and he was pretty high functioning. Neil, on the other hand, is much lower functioning than my cousin so at first I was a little concerned on how I was going to interact with him. However, I quickly learned everything about Neil like the fact that he loves to color, play board games, play on the Wii, and his laugh is the most contagious laugh that I have ever heard and is funny enough to brighten anybody’s day! Overall, I absolutely adore working for the Knights of Gonzaga and especially with my mentee Neil, as he has taught me so much about myself in the few months that we’ve had together and I would not want to trade that special bond that I have with Neil for anything else in the entire world.

- Ben Wahlman
Knight of Gonzaga

Evan Harrison: Artisans Reflection

The most rewarding part of service at Artisans has been watching the progression of my mentee and I's relationship. At the beginning, Micah was very quiet and seemed nervous to be around me. However, as the weeks have progressed it has been fun to establish a relationship with him, where he is actually excited to see me and we both make each other laugh. Sometimes we play his version of the board game "Sorry!" where he draws all the cards and then moves his pieces an arbitrary number of spaces. It sounds tedious but we end up just laughing the whole time. He has also become much more talkative which was very apparent at the Gonzaga Womens basketball game where he could not stop yelling GO COUGS!!! Overall, it has been a fulfilling experience to watch Micah progress and I am excited for the weeks to come. 

- Evan Harrison 
Knight of Gonzaga 

James Silverstri: Artisans and Ski Trip Reflection

The question I get asked most after people find out that I am a Knight is: why did you decide to join? There was one thing that recently happened that really reminded me of why I joined this organization. I love the service and leadership aspect of these organizations, but the bond that we create between one another really differentiates our club from many others. Last weekend at Silver Mountain, will be a fond memory to look back on when I am older and reminiscing about college. When 20 or so Knights and Setons ski together – you're going to have a great time. I had an absolute blast skiing with everyone and getting to know people better outside of a service setting.
Being a member of the Knights of Gonzaga has made me a better individual at the end of the day. Not only do these groups give back to the community through service, but I think there is something else that is commonly overlooked. So far, my mentee and friend Kevin has probably taught and helped me more than I probably have been able to help him. The Knights and Setons are also such beneficial organizations for the participants as they are for the community. My experience at Gonzaga would be so much radically different if I had decided to not find out more about the Knights and Setons. It is amazing to make friends with people that I generally would not have been in contact with because of different friend groups, dorm or majors. This was one of my best decisions at Gonzaga and Silver Mountain confirmed that belief.

- James Silvestri
Knight of Gonzaga

Meera Beauchamp: Artisans Reflection

There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. I would argue that actions speak far more than words ever can. When I first met my mentee, she was extremely shy and quiet. She would respond to my questions with one or two words, but never more. However, by observation alone I learned more about my mentee’s personality than I could’ve by asking the normal get to know you questions. She is so caring and quick to help anyone and everyone, whether it be other mentees at Artisans or Zag fans at Gonzaga basketball games. The more time we spent together, the more she began to open up. While our conversations are never extensive, we both enjoy the companionship we share together at Artisans. There is definitive care for one another that doesn’t need to be verbalized because a hug and smile says so much more.

- Meera Beauchamp
Seton of Gonzaga

Grant Thomas: Artisans Reflection

My service this year with Knights of Gonzaga has been challenging but extremely rewarding. Going into Artisans I didn’t really know what to expect. I had not worked with mentally disabled people before and I was slightly nervous. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable with my mentee, Matthew. While he was noticeably nervous at first, we quickly grew closer. After a few weeks he went from agreeing to whatever I suggested doing (coloring, playing board games, Mario Kart, etc.) to making his own suggestions. The next few weeks were much more enjoyable for both of us. He suggested we play ping pong, which we both liked a lot, and we also colored pictures that he signed and gave to some of his family members. Doing activities that I can tell he enjoys was a big turning point in the friendship. It made me feel like my service was truly appreciated and I feel that I am now making a positive impact on Matthew’s life. Overall the experience has been very positive and I have enjoyed service more than I thought I would. I am fortunate to be a part of Knights and Setons, where one can get so much out of service like Artisans.

-Grant Thomas
Knight of Gonzaga 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Andrea Hurtado: Artisans Reflection

       This past week my mentee, Jim, and I were reunited after a month long winter break. The Knights and Setons were given the opportunity, through Artisans, to attend a women’s basketball game with our mentees and the event was such a special time where Jim and I were able to share laughs, our love for Gonzaga basketball, and an absurd amount of popcorn. Jim has been talking about going to a basketball game for a while now so it made me really happy that I was able to be there with him.
       Through the conversations that Jim and I have shared over the course of this year so far I can see a definite improvement in the way that he interacts with others. When we first began, Jim came off as a bit timid, yet over time I have noticed become much more comfortable talking and joking around with not only me, but also the others participating in this program. I
       It is awesome to see the types of relationships that the Knights and Setons are able to build through Artisans and has made it clear to me that we really are capable of making a difference in the lives of others. My experience with Artisans this year has been very rewarding and I cannot wait for what’s to come.

-Andrea Hurtado
Seton of Gonzaga

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