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Lasallian Volunteers Retreat Reflects on Service, Looks to Future

Fifty-two volunteers attended the Lasallian Volunteers Debriefing Retreat at La Salle Manor in Plano, IL from May 27-30. Bro. Brian Henderson facilitated the weekend retreat with the theme “The Greatest Show on Earth: The LV Circus Experience!”

LVs relax with a creative ice breaker game.

The event is a chance for volunteers to reflect on their year of service and look forward to their next steps. Those steps could be another year of volunteering, graduate school or beginning jobs.

Volunteer Amy Kalina’s next step is becoming a staff member at San Miguel School in Providence, RI where she volunteered for two years. Kalina said the retreat, which was her second, provided an opportunity to piece together experiences and memories of the past two years. “It allowed me to take a step away from my service and identify the successes, the failures, the challenges, and the changes that have occurred in my students and in myself,” she said.

This was the first debriefing retreat for Samantha Almanza, who also volunteered at San Miguel School in Providence where she will return for a second year of volunteering. Almanza described the retreat as an experience that tied together her year of service and provided a way to reflect on how she grew as a person and a teacher. “I was able to dialogue and bond with people who have shared similar experiences to me, and learn how they approached the same situations,” she explained. “It was like a sharing of best practices with the only people who could understand the emotions, precarious situations, comedy, relationships, and challenges that I have encountered as a LV.”

lv circle
The Commissioning Ceremony included LVs filling bags with affirmations.

The retreat ended with a re-commissioning ceremony to welcome those returning for another year of service and shift those leaving the program into the LV alumni circle. As an alumna now, Kalina said the retreat provided a sense of closure. “I feel as though I am ready to move on into the ‘real world,’ and I know that that support system will still be there for me even after my transition.”

The debriefing retreat occurs once a year combining friendship, fellowship, and laughter.