Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Taylor Woods: Hope House Service Reflection

                  This Sunday, the Setons of Gonzaga had the opportunity to visit the Hope House in downtown Spokane. This incredible facility started as a way to protect women against violence on the streets, and has been in operation since 1997. As a place of refuge, the Hope House offers a safe and comforting environment to all women, barrier-free. In addition to the thirty-four beds available each night, the women at the Hope House are offered hot meals, clean showers, hygiene products, moral support, as well as access to a tremendous number of donated items. As a part of our monthly service, we were able to dedicate our time in order to assist in the sorting and organization of their donations. All in all, the most profound aspect of this event was seeing the kindness that has overflown from the Spokane community in the form of donations. We were able to see firsthand how loved the Hope House is, and the impact this has on the women it serves.
Upon entering the Hope House, we were greeted by Michelle, the Housing Specialist, who gave us a tour of the facility. It was incredible to see the number of amenities offered for the women, and what a safe and friendly atmosphere the Hope House creates. We spent our morning sorting through the generously donated items the house had recently received, and noting how positive it is for such a valuable organization to be noticed for its work in uplifting the lives of women.
                  As we work to positively impact our community, serving alongside my fellow Setons brings me to a state of peace and joy. It is so powerful to see the work that we can accomplish as an organization; the unity that results from our acts of service is undeniably my favorite part of being a Seton. When we are given the ability to work in a hands-on environment such as the Hope House, we are given the chance to interact with members of our community, leaving us with meaningful and influential moments to reflect upon. Today, I am reminded of the kindness in our world because of those who work to create a better life for all. I am reminded of the power of respect and compassion, and how these work to ensure the dignity of every human life. And I am reminded of the positive impact you can have on your community, even through the smallest acts of service. From my time as a Seton of Gonzaga, I have learned that service does not need to be coordinated or volunteered for; you can serve your community in big ways and small ways, and every act will have a positive effect nonetheless. Whether it is dedicating your time at a soup kitchen or picking up trash as you walk to class, always strive to incorporate an act of service into your everyday routine.  
Although our time at the Hope House was limited, the impact the house had on each of us is everlasting, and likewise, we worked to help the house in as great of a way as we could. Seeing such a wonderful organization serve the women of the Spokane community is truly heartwarming, and I am looking forward to working with the Hope House again. As a Seton of Gonzaga, with service as one of our three pillars, it is a privilege to serve with twenty-nine other women who want to support their local community and leave a positive impact on this world

- Taylor Woods
Seton of Gonzaga 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Jenny Sanchez: Artisans Reflection

One of my favorite things about my past eleven months as a Seton is the relationships it has brought into my life. Back in April 2016, I was welcomed into the Knights and Setons family, surrounded by 59 of my new brothers and sisters—some faces old, some new, and some familiar. Time has now flown by, and those same 59 people have changed my life and Gonzaga experience in ways too copious to name. While it is bittersweet that less than 50 days mark the end of our year as active Knights and Setons, I know that the interpersonal connections this organization has fostered will continue to grow and flourish as we move forward in our lives at Gonzaga.
A special relationship I hold close to my heart is the one I share with my mentee, Tara. It has been incredible watching her grow, and watching myself grow with her as her mentor. She has taught me just as much as I have taught her, if not more. For the first three weeks she could not remember my name and was somewhat reserved around me, understandably so. Since then, we have shared countless laughs, high fives, dance parties, snacks, and have sung “Let it Go” too many times to name. The most rewarding part of my relationship with Tara is helping her realize she can do so much more than she thinks she can. Whether it be making homemade popcorn, going bowling, or going to the movies, the smile that illuminates her face when she achieves something she thought she couldn’t is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I am so grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in our community weekly, and to do so alongside 59 incredible brothers and sisters. 

- Jenny Sanchez 
Seton of Gonzaga 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ryan Songey: Dance Marathon

As a member of Knights of Gonzaga we assist at many charity events throughout the year. This past weekend we assisted at the Dance Marathon which is a charity event supporting the local children’s hospital in Spokane. It was an amazing event to be apart of and witness. Multiple families went up on stage to share their journey at the children’s hospital. I was amazed at the strength and hope that each patient showed. The families shared how grateful they were for the money raised which made their experience more comfortable during their time at the hospital. It was quite an emotional sight when the final amount that was revealed to the crowd. The Dance Marathon team’s goal was to raise $65,000 this year, and they raised over $76,000. I was honored to witness the reveal and see the impact it made on the families present. This is an event I hope to attend and support more in the future. I am very glad the Knight and Setons were able to help out with such an amazing and impactful event.

-Ryan Songey

Knights of Gonzaga 

Chase Jacobson: Artisans Reflection

For this week’s Artisans service, the Knights and Setons got to go to Get Air at Spokane’s Northtown Mall and spend time with our mentees. In my case, I haven’t been able to see my mentee Derek all semester and I knew that he wasn’t going to be able to make it. Instead, me and another Knight named Max got paired together with a new mentee named Austin. This was Austin’s first time going to an Artisans event. After talking to Austin’s mom, we found out that Austin loves trampolines and was very excited to start. Once everyone was ready, Max and I took Austin out onto the floor and started jumping. Instantly we saw Austin’s face light up, which was a very rewarding experience for both Max and I. After a while, we decided to take a break and get some water and snacks. We weren’t away from the trampolines for five minutes when Austin asked if we could go back on. Although Max and I weren’t able to spend time with the mentees we developed a relationship with, it was still a blast to be able to have fun with someone new!

- Chase Jacobson
Knight of Gonzaga

Kurt Wohlers: Artisans and Knights Reflection

In many ways I find it difficult to accept the idea that this time last year I was not a Knight. Many of the guys whom I would now regard as brothers were often times either people I hardly knew, or didn’t know at all one simple year ago. As we begin the selections process, time and time again I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to be a Knight. The experience I have had at service has been incredible; albeit, though I myself had a rough start. The mentee that I have been working with, Aaron, is hilarious and tells some of the most heartwarming stories. He loves talking about his horses and how he’s been teaching his neighbor’s children how to ride them. Aaron can also beat me in just about any sort of board game imaginable, the only one I stand a chance in is Connect Four, but that is because we play a revised version, where instead of taking turns you simply jam your pieces into the slots as fast as you can and the first one to connect four wins. He is also quite the artist and he frequently critiques my inability to stay in the lines, and the fact that I colored a turtle orange one time (he reminds me of that often). 
Service is just one of the three pillars of Knights. In my brief time in the organization, I have seen the leadership ability inherent in so many fellow Knights, and I have seen us all grown as brothers. I’m always amazed at how far we have come as a group. Maya Angelou stated that, “I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.” In the same vein, you cannot simply put thirty people in a room for a night once a week and expect them to become brothers. As a group, we have worked to become as close as we are. It required that we participate, we get up early when we don’t want to, we do our duty even when we have a million other responsibilities hounding down on us, when it comes down to the wire, we press on—that is what so amazes me about this group. To find thirty (sure, sixty if you include the Setons, thanks for “Shame”) people with such dedication is really quite a rarity and I feel very blessed to be part of something so incredible.

-Kurt Wohlers
Knight of Gonzaga 

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


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