Thursday, February 18, 2016

Transitions Reflection: Spencer Martin

I’ve worked a lot with kids and consider myself to be pretty good with kids overall. For each summer the last three years I have worked at a community center, running different camps and activities with kids usually from ages 6 to 11. Every kid presents a different challenge at camp, but the objective is simple, just have fun. My weaknesses while working in this setting were always what to do when not doing something active, and working with little girls. For some reason, probably because I just had more common with active boys, little girls and I just did not mesh well.

When I was asked which service I would like to participate in, it was a no brainer. I always work with kids and enjoy working with them so I chose Transitions. Transitions, however, was more of a unique experience that was different that work. I was only going to be working closely with one child instead of a huge group of kids in a gym or in a field. And of course, I was partnered with a girl, Nya.

Nya has a huge family and therefore loves when she is in the spotlight. She is a little diva that prances around and makes sure its known to everyone. She also has a big heart. Nya shows constant affection for those around her she loves. This is evident in the way she interacts with all of her siblings, taking it to a point that annoys her brothers because she wants another hug. Nya makes it hard to leave because she wants to give so many hugs and has an even harder time saying goodbye.

I recognize the impact that our organization can have when I hear Nya yell, “It’s Knights and Setons day, It’s Knights and Setons Day!” She always knows what day is her day to hangout with myself or Drew for a couple hours. And trust me, if for some reason you can’t make it to service that day, Nya will remind you. If I’m ever running a little bit late, I can expect a call from Nya to see where I am.

Last year when I came to school I found myself missing work not because of the paycheck, but because I was missing all the interactions and relationships I had with all those kids during the summer. Transitions has allowed me to create a special relationship with a sweet, young girl that brightens up my week for two hours every week.

- Spencer Martin
Knight of Gonzaga

Artisans Reflection: Jana Walker

Joining Setons I knew I was going to be put in situations outside my comfort zone.  In high school, I spent much time volunteering with children so I made the decision to join Artisan’s to try something new.  I had no previous experience working with those with special needs so I did not know what to expect—never would I have imagined what I would get out of this experience.

I was paired with Linda, a women around the age of 50.  I have to admit, I didn’t expect to be paired with someone so much older than I am.  Despite the age, each week I see our relationship growing more and more.  What I didn’t expect on top of this was to bond with all the other mentee’s that join me on Wednesday afternoons.  I can’t leave Artisan's without a smile on my face.  I have never gone and Linda wasn't happy to see me, that feeling is something indescribable.  Linda does this thing when you greet her, she grabs my hand and nuzzles her face in it.  Each time it puts a smile on my face cause I know how happy she is that I am there and the feeling is reciprocated.  I look forward to my meeting each week, and am so thankful that Setons has given me this opportunity.  Not only has Setons given me the opportunity to serve others but it has also given me service that I feel gives me more than I give.  

- Jana Walker
Seton of Gonzaga

Monday, February 8, 2016

Service Reflection: Alec Pasqualina

For our January service event, the Knights decided to walk downtown and buy coats from the local thrift shop, the Arc, and deliver those coats to the local homeless shelter, Spokane House of Charity (HOC). The event didn’t quite go as planned, but it made a huge impact on my life.

The morning of the event, I awoke to snow fluttering down from the sky. Walking in this weather would have been brutal, so the Knights all piled into a couple trucks and headed to the Arc thrift store. The Arc, luckily, was having a storewide fifty percent off sale, so we went crazy, buying tons of coats and essential cold weather clothing. After running up the tab over three hundred dollars, we hopped in the trucks and drove downtown to the HOC.

At the HOC, we were not exactly welcomed in with open arms. Most of the people inside were enjoying lunch and the few volunteers available had a lot to do. After sorting out a bit of confusion, we were allowed to set up our coats in the mini chapel that overlooked the cafeteria with floor to ceiling windows. After a quick announcement, soon a very orderly line formed at the entrance of the chapel, full of people looking forward to a delayed Christmas gift. Three or four at a time, we let people in, who proceeded to try on coats and check their quality before choosing one item. Most all of the people were extremely thankful and sought to have a quick conversation with you. I talked to one man who could recite the exact length in miles of the I-5 freeway that runs from Canada to Mexico. Small conversations like this threw me into an immediate reflection mode. Even though I am beyond fortunate to attend a school like Gonzaga, intelligence is not owned by the few. Everyone on this planet could teach me something; I just need to open my eyes and notice.

Afterward, the Knights all met at Mulligan Field for a little snow football and basketball. I’m not sure one event has ever left me feeling happier or more satisfied. Service can help improve the lives of the people you help, but it will also change your personal life just as much.

- Alec Pasqualina
Knight of Gonzaga

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Artisans Reflection: Annika Barnett

Every week I look forward to spending time with my mentee, Jackie. This week was no different, and as the school days slowly dragged on I waited with anticipation for Friday when I would get to see her. We had planned to go bowling and everyone was really looking forward to it. When Jackie arrived she quickly notified me that we could not start bowling until we put the bumpers up. I was happy that we would be able to use bumpers because gutter balls normally frequent my bowling score.  I figured that Jackie’s insistence on bumper use also indicated that she would need them, but my prediction was far from right. During the game, Jackie had three strikes and maybe only brushed the bumpers once. I, on the other hand, still managed to get minuses even with the bumpers in place. Ever time she stood up to bowl she would get my attention and tell me to “watch her form” and that she would “show me how it’s done.” This would follow by a successful turn for Jackie and a victory dance.

Despite losing the game of bowling by an embarrassing margin, I had the more fun with Jackie than ever before. We laughed over my pitiful bowling skills, high fived over her impressive ones and bonded over the country music that the bowling alley was playing. I look forward to many more weeks of laughter with Jackie.

- Annika Barnett
      Seton of Gonzaga

Friday, January 8, 2016

Transitions Reflection: Stevynn Laine

I have always loved working with kids, so I was really excited to start working with Transitions, although it was a little intimidating at first. I met my mentee, Levi, who is a total teddy bear wrapped up in a “tough boy” persona. One of the first things he said to me was “Aw yeah, I was hoping you would be a girl Steven, boy Stevens are usually boring!”. We quickly bonded over superpowers, sports, and math. Currently my main task is getting Levi to enjoy reading, and we have been reading the Percy Jackson series together. It has ben really fun to watch him get so interested in a book, even if he will never admit it out loud.

I really look forward to spending my Friday’s at Transitions, and I am building stronger relationships with many of the kids there, not just my mentee. It is an amazing learning experience and stress release for me, and the kids love getting individual attention. Volunteering at Transitions doesn’t feel like service, it just feels like getting to hang out with a herd of four-foot-tall friends.

- Stevynn Laine
Seton of Gonzaga

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Artisans Reflection: Meaghan Murphy

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to work with Artisans. I had heard amazing stories about the relationships built between mentees and mentors and I so desperately wanted to experience the same thing. However, my experience as a mentor has gone above and beyond my wildest expectations.

My first day at Artisans was exciting but also so nerve wracking. I met my mentee, Zita, and soon realized that she was incredibly shy and quiet. I was so nervous and I had no idea what to do. Everyone else seemed to be having amazing conversations with their mentees but I was struggling to get a few words out of her. As time went my relationship with Zita grew stronger. She slowly began to open up and before long I learned all about her. I l found out that she loves to dance and is always down to bust a move. She told me that her favorite animal is a werewolf and for Halloween she dressed up as werewolf-vampire. Zita has so many incredible talents but her bowling skills take the cake. Zita doesn’t talk very much, but when she does it is the most exciting thing ever. Her laugh is contagious and her smile lights up the whole room. Whenever I see her she nuzzles her head on my arm and mumbles my name under her breath. Wednesdays with Zita are the highlight of my week and I know that my time spent at Artisans will be the highlight of my college experience. Zita has taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined but most importantly she reminds me to find happiness in all aspects of life.

- Meaghan Murphy
Seton of Gonzaga


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