Lasallian Volunteers 2005-2006

Lord, The Work is Yours...

Friday, September 30, 2005

Courtney & Dave's Visit to <.C. (St. Stephen's & DLS Community)

Jonathan...still going with "Singing in the Rain"
The DLS Community (aka, Paseo) Jonathan, Andrew, Br. Jim & Br. Dale

Courtney & Dave's K.C. Visit (St. Stephen's Academy)

Jonathan with his 2nd graders. If you have not heard, Jonathan transitions from one class to another with an energizer song. Today, the featured song was "Singing in the Rain." The song involves hands, feet, behinds, tongues, heads, etc. etc.
Jonathan taking some lessons from Br. Jim...warming up for Midyear!
Courtney and Jonathan and the six groups of students, all named after different breeds of dogs.

Courtney & Dave's Visit to K.C. (St. Stephen's Academy)

Jonathan & Andrew outside St. Stephen's
Andrew sitting back and teaching at the same time!

Andrew & Jonathan debriefing the day with a fellow teacher

Courtney & Dave's Visit to K.C. (K.C. Free Health Clinic & Holy Family Catholic Worker)

Derek inside the K.C. Free Health Clinic. He looks much more official when he where's his thesiscope. The Center is a wonderful place for folks who don't have the resources to receive the health care that they deserve. Derek in involved in getting all of the vitals from his patience before they see the doctor.
Outside the Clinic
Vick, Br. Louis & Derek in the Catholic Worker Dining Room

Courtney & Dave's Visit to K.C. (Migrant Farmworkers)

Vicki at the Food Distribution Table...I think we had at least 75 families come that evening!
One of the benefits of a LV lunch on the LV Program! Dave's first visit to Sonic. Let's just say this was our first and not our last visit to Sonic on the same day. It was Courtney, Vicki, Br. Dale & Dave and four Blue Coconut Slushes on the ride home. Morning Prayer was rough!
A bit of a reunion...Lourdes Figueroa (LV Alum), Vicki, Courtney & Dave

Vicki and her Migrant Youth Group hanging before the presentation and pizza party. Pictures were of a recent Quinceanera!!

Vicki hanging outside the school building were all the Monday activities take place for the Migrant Farmworkers (Legal assistance, food distribution, clothing, etc.)

Thursday, September 29, 2005


So I've been trying for 1/2 an hour now to post the pics from the ceremony I mentioned in my last blog, but it won;t let me for some reason....sorry Andrew!

I'll try again Monday!

Seventh Grade -- Making it Official!

At the Gary Comer Campus, as 5th and 6th grade students, the kids wear a gray uniform shirt that is more of a polo/t-shirt combo than anything else. For the first two weeks "downstairs" the 7th grade wears the same. Once the two week mark passes, we have a ceremony where the 7th grade transitions into a more formal and "business-like" uniform: crisp white, button down shirts (or up depending on where you are from), with ties. And yes, the boys have to wear legitimate "tie-me-every-day" ties. The ceremony is beautiful! Our choir sings, the 8th grade "adjusts" the ties of the 7th grade welcoming them, and then all the men of the community make their way to each 7th grade students, encouraging them!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Work People!

What do you all think this experience is about? Pictures of drinking games...stories of meeting celebrities...using cuss words on the blog...traveling all over the coast and country to rub elbows with other LV's.

Hmmm....I thought you were supposed to be doing God's work. Guess I didn't get the new mission statement. And to think this behavior is being led by second year LV's. I guess the new mission is "Do whatever you wanna do...Ghahd."

In all Jelousy,



New York last weekend was a ton of fun...Playing tourist for a day was a blast...All you who were unavoidably detained from joining us last weekend have no excuse the next time we're all up in NYC...So, back to sightseeing...I really enjoyed the MET and seeing the European impressionists, Monet and van Gogh (spelling?) Someone could spend hours if not days or months in that place admiring all that is to be seen...I also really enjoyed our visit out to Brooklyn and over the bridge back into town...Although I liked walking above the cars, I recommend NOT looking down...Not like out at the spectacular view of the city, but down at your feet to see your walking on wood, with enough daylight between them to see the water below (food for thought for those not too thrilled by heights)....

In other news soccer season began this week. In our first two games, we are a wonderful, 0-2. Nothing to be discouraged about...As long as there is the water cooler and radio for the ride, our guys couldn't be happier...Well, not quite true, we play in a co-ed CYO league and our boys instead of playing soccer really want to get phone numbers...
At half time one of our sixth graders came up to me and said, "Mr. Swain, one of the girls keeps winking at me..." Then said, "that other girl, she keeps trying to kick us all in the nuts..." Ah, the joy of co-ed sports...

Hope everyone has a bordering on the fantastic kind of end of the week, weekend....

Remember to eat you vegetables!

Some more photo fun!

Kristen? Maybe a little too much fun? Nah!!!

The best team, doin' what they do best! Flippin!

Ross and I. Yes, rosy cheeks = too drunk!

Flip Cup Champions of the World!

Ross, even though he lost, obviously "happy."

FYI : NY knows how to flip cup! Myself, Alberto, and Kristen reign supreme in this "sport."

Kristen shows all the onlookers what she's made of.

Above and below: Kristen making her "famous" margarita
right before the first Harvey House Social of the year.

Below: Ross, sideways, at a housewarming party.
Can we say SPOONS?

Below: Jorge, Kristen, and Brendan at a separate housewarming
party. Yes! We like parties in Chicago.


what up everyone,
it's me. irene. still rolling around the lasallian circle. (kinda). i am in the philippines (and have been for almost a month) and just had a nice visit with the Christian Brothers here at De La Salle University in Manila. It's crazy, we did prayer and community dinner and everything here. I felt like i was still a volunteer!
i also met with the director of the Lasallian Volunteers here in the Philippines. if you people think your jobs are tough, you should seriously see what these people do. They live in the most rural areas of the country. no electricity, no internet, no nothing. they eat snakes and frogs. they don't have hot water. they have to build their houses because there is no community house for them to live in. it's pretty rough, but seems very rewarding.
i hope you are all doing well. your stories are funny and makes me laugh. i miss being an LV but i see that what happened to me in memphis had to be dealt with elsewhere. anyways, gotta jet. take care of yourselves and always keep it real. ha

ny ny

here are some pictures to capture the ny weekend adventures...
if they are blurry blame swain.
we didn't get a picture of kanye west. but it was really funny how we just casually noticed him getting into his big black excursion with some guy wearing a lot of bling and continued on our way. it was as if we were jaded new yorkers.
i am also fascinated with the hasidic jews in maureen's neighborhood. i want to see them eat in their cages on the feast of succuth.
all in all. i will be back in ny sometime. i want a knish!! even if mo's dogs attack me from behind...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

clare's law

There are some laws, like the law of conservation of energy, that cannot be violated. And then there are laws like Clare's law, as my sister affectionately calls it. Be careful not to violate this one. I've made this mistake once and only once. Here it is:

Never exceed hours of sleep by cups of coffee.

Trust me, just don't do it. Take care of yourselves kids.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Move is finished!!!

Well we did it. We have finished moving into the new building for the center and today's first tutoring sessions went wonderfully! I'm so relieved its done. We've all been working non-stop for pretty much the past two weeks. Even on Sundays we would sneek over there for a bit to work on some stuff. The new center is really awesome and its huge! I'm really surprised at how smoothly the entire move went. And although there were a few bruises and a little blood, no one went to the hospital or the doctor. I'll try to post some more pictures of the inside of the center but for now these will have to do. Oh and lucky us, we got a new mini van for the community last week too (that's it there in pictures). Too much new stuff! Well take care and keep on postin!

Great Stories!

Greetings All!

It is great to hear all your stories of the year so far! I just realized last week that this was up, thanks to Kelly! I guess those emails missed Melissa and I but thanks to Jolleen I am now able to catch up on all of your happening!
San Fran, the year of firsts! I will save the wierded one for midyear but do have to say there have been some very eye-opening encounters. In short, a man peeing on the sidewalk, being barked a man, being asked what grade I was in and then when I told him I was a teacher being told I am not. What do you say to that?
Most my weekends I just start walking in one direction or another. Weather is wierd down here but it has finally been nice. Fog, fog fog!
The school is good. I don't have my own class but assist in Math and tutor in Reading. I have also been dubbed a mean teacher, don't really care though. They get over it. I sent a record 7 people to the office in two days. Everyone of them recieved Saturday detention and guess who gets to make sure they show up and work? That's right, Me!
This is long enough though, great to hear from all of you!


P.S. Saul, you talk about this great camera, when am I going to get to see the pic of us at orientation?

New York, New York

New York, New York it's a helluva time!!!

Athough I was not able to see everyone who came to town (i.e. Janitzia!) I want to re-invite all those who'd like to come (i.e. Paul!). Chrissy went on a field trip with me and some of our kids to Lincoln Center (for those of you who are familiar with Center Stage, yeah, it's that theater, that place) to see the opera Madam Butterfly. It was quit a trip. After a half hour delay in which Cecil, our bus driver (who kept saying over and over again to his boss on the phone "Da doar whon't clowse, da doar whon't clowse!"), tried effortlessly to shut the bus door, which was stuck wide open, it magically worked and we were on our way!

Madam Butterfly is actually kinda scandalous and so the kids enjoyed it. Brandon, a senior sitting next to me was so pleased with the conductor that he yelled to him "You Da Man!". Mind you, we were in the 8th row.

Later we strolled over to some sites and guess who Chrissy spotted a few feet away??? Kanye West! Maybe she can tell you more about that.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend and that you're all doing ok! Remember to relax and have fun!


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Teaching is hard

As rec staff, I have no idea what it's like to try to keep kid's attention for more than 5 seconds and make them learn. However, Friday the social studies teacher here asked me to come to his classes and talk about my experience with hurricanes and New Orleans. Everything was going fine until, who am I kidding, it was a bust from the start. First, two kids walked in to class, sat down and then walked right out at the bell (they came back) Then, two staff came to escort a very unwilling student to the office - this happened while I was giving my "presentation" and I completely lost my train of thought. Finally, at the last class of the day, the first kid who walked in said rather loudly, "I can't wait to get the fuck out of here". Meanwhile, all day kids put their heads on their desks pretty much the whole time I was there. So hats off to all of you who have to deal with that for more than just one day.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Better "White Balance" for the towel

Here it is Clare.......

Thursday, September 22, 2005

ice soccer

this message is to andrew brandt.
san miguel providence will gladly play your team.
today at practice, our star halfback did a bicycle kick off a corner and scored a goal. it was quite beautiful.
what about ice soccer on the bball court at goshen?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Everyone who helps kids read

Everyone who helps kids read books outside of the school requirements you should apply for this. I am nominating our librarian but since I didn't have all of her info I had her do a mock application and I'm just cutting and pasting. If you're too bashful to nominate yourself, write down all of the info and just ask someone else if they would mind nominating you.

You can even nominate the whole school!

Check this out:


Food for Thought

"People differ even more in their amounts of "will" than their amounts of "can," and one's individual success or failure is established more by one's own amount of will than one's amount of can. The practical and great consideration is not, how much can I do, but how much will I do of what I can?" - William C. Gannett

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Love & Basketball

So last week during school, we had this 'initiation' ceremony for new students, and the school choir was singing at it. This 6th grade boy, (short, plump, so adorable) had a solo. Well apparantly he messed it up or missed his cue. He was so upset/embarrassed he stormed out crying. So I went out after him to cheer him up. After he calmed down a little bit, and I ensured him that no one noticed his minor mistake, I asked him if he wanted to go back inside. His repsonse was " I can't" then I said "What did I say about that word (they are not allowed to say "can't")?" ...."Can't is not in a man's vocabulary" ...."and why not"....."because when you say can't you're not a man" ......... hahaha ....For those of you who might not know...but that is an EXACT scene from Love & Basketball (one of my fave movies) played out in the hallways of San Miguel quite seriously and unexpected too!!

Geoscience Center

Shark Tooth (Oscar)

Raptor Claw (Jose Luis)

Students...poor guy couldn't put horns on Mr. Martinez!

I think i'm more addicted to posting than you are CLARE!

Monday, September 19, 2005

i'm addicted to posting

Bedford park tries out the new deck. The girls: Jennifer, Elisa (our new Loretto volunteer), and me. The boys: Br. JP, Br. Bill, Br. Ed, and Jonathan. And of course, you're all welcome to come over and try the new deck. I recommend passing food out the window.

urban wildlife part 2.5

urban wildlife part 2

Well, although the new deck is above rat level we seem to have a new problem - pigeons. The pigeons seem to mistake our deck for public restrooms. I admit, restrooms can be difficult to find in New York City. So of course Ed, in all his brilliance, had a solution. He took a towel and drew a bulls eye on it. The pigeons already started practicing and I must say, they need to work on their aim.

If you ask nicely, I may even post a photo.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Dessert Talk...

We've all heard of Coffee Talk, well in the Saint LaSalle Community its Dessert Talk. Basically its a time to shared gross and disgusting stories. Well first it all began earlier this evening when Brother Robb shared that a few times him and Br. Dan (who is now in Tuscon) would feed people balls and eggs for breakfast. I'll say no more, but you kids in Arizona can ask Br. Dan to fill you in on the rest of the story. I think that was the first clue that it was going to be interesting. Then as we sat down to have desert, Br. Anthony shared how he experience grace from a single bite of Jello. He told us that when he was younger he had to go into the hospital for something and they wouldn't give him anything solid until he farted. We all lost it at that point. But he continued on to say that he couldn't fart for 4 days. His roomate in the hospital also had to do the same thing. So for a few days they had a competition going over who would fart first and Br. Anthony lost. Now we were all hysterically laughing and making fun of this story. I love Br. Anthony's stories. Always so random. Anyone else out there got good Dessert Talk happening in your community?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Happy mexican independence day!

Looking Tough

Hope you guys all had a good day on friday and a great weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2005


it's been one of those days for me. just thought everyone could use a picture of some elephants...

It's moving day!!!

Well today is the big day. The LEO Center will be moving to its new building. Starting today we will be boxing up every single thing in all 3 rooms and then on Monday the movers come to take it to the new center. Pray for us that every thing will go smoothly, tempers and emotions will stay calm (the Brothers are particularly upset even though they won't admit to it) and by the end of next week we won't all be at the Chiropractor fixing our backs. It's weird to think in less than 2 months, our old building will be a beauty school. Ah, progress. Well take care everyone!


Thursday, September 15, 2005

understanding 7 year olds...

For the most part, 2nd grade is great. Kids are easily amused and I can create ideas like "Magic Tape" that my kids put on to keep quiet- and it works! But today, I would like to welcome myself officially to the "Mean Teacher's Club."

Today, Imani was not happy that I would not let her sit at a different table instead of her own place. She pouted UNDER THE TABLE for 2 minutes until I picked her up and put her back in her chair. Eventually, she decided to participate in class again. Then, 20 min later, after Solomon had won a math game and received a sticker, she threw another tantrum because she wanted one too. At this point, it was time for prayer before lunch. I asked my students to tell me one thing they enjoyed about the morning. Imani raised her hand, so I thought, "Maybe she's come around!?" Nope. She says, "I DO NOT like the teacher!" All of my other 2nd graders exchanged glances and said, "oooh, she shouldn't have said that!" in low whispers of course. I replied, "Well, that's OK Imani, I still care about and like you." She didn't like that answer. We stood for prayer and she wouldn't face the crusifix. I said, "Imani, you may be mad at me, but you must turn and face the Lord." She said, "I'm mad at the Lord TOO!" (the rest of my 2nd graders gasped!) I physically turned her and we then lined up for lunch.

THEN- she grabs my hand. I asked her if she wanted to walk in the front with me, and she nodded. As we're walking down the stairs, she was looking up at me, holding my hand smiling. I asked her if she wanted to have a better afternoon and she said yes.

And this is why I believe that 2nd graders are truly strange creatures... anything is possible and resonable thought or logic in dealing with behavior and emotions rarely exists...

At least there's a club for teachers like us.

Thank you & Dinner

First of all, thank you for the support over the past two weeks. I really do appriciate all the thoughts and prayers for my family and the people of Louisiana. Y'all are awesome. Now it's story time.

Br. Edwin, our community director, will very quickly tell you just how German he and his cooking are. One night, after several intense hours of calculus tutoring, I walk into the kitchen to find dinner being packed up and put in the fridge for the evening. Needless to say, there wasn't much consumed that night. Thank God for good cookin'. (You might have to scroll down.)


How Mr. Martinez feels at the beginning of the day.

We'll see how i feel 6 hours from now after class, a full lunch, and enrichment.

By the way, did you feel like this after Ryan Vonderwhat'shisface took your bike and called you little boy?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Andrew swears this is a funny story...I think not!

First of all, I never had a love interest in Ryan Vonderschmidt. I was in the 4th grade, and he was 16. He was the cool older boy in the neighborhood. My friends and I, when playing spy games, would sneak into the woods behind his house and use our high-tech spy equipment to spy on him making out with his little girlfriends behind his house. But I digress.

Growing up, my sisters and I had short hair; old men would often mistake us for little boys. Kinda traumatic, really. Well, I was learning how to ride a 2-wheeler bike in the 4th grade and was riding my bike around my neighborhood with its little training wheels on it, when Ryan Vonderschmidt stole it from me and got on it. He rode the bike around with the training wheels that I was terrified would break, taunting me with, "Try and catch me, little boy! Ha ha ha HA I got your bike, little boy!"

Needless to say, I'm sure you all can guess what Mr. Clever Brandt has adopted as my nickname...

Happy, Andrew?!

Runny Noses...AHHH!!!

Ok, so at the center its like every other kid has a runny nose. Today I was working with Jordan who every 2 seconds (and im not exaggerating) kept on sniffing. Rather than get up and get some tissue, he continued to sniff. Well I was trying to concentrate on the math problem, but I couldn't so I nicely got up and got him some tissue. I hand it to him and rather than blow his nose, he just wipes it. So I said, "You know, it helps if you blow in the tissue." He replied, "No it doesn't. That's how you get a fever." WHAT?!?! Never heard of that one before. Since I was caught way off guard with that answer, I just said "Okay?" Suddenly Br. Anthony says to me, "I guess Dr. Kelly was wrong," and laughs at my flabbergasted look. Oh I love middle school.

Looking Forward

So Mr. Martinez is now in Charge of teaching boys PE and girls soccer. The girls are really looking forward to the conditioning......WHY?!!!! I was really suprized by the upper body strength that the girls showed. Funny, the baller boys can't even do 5 good push ups......Motivation is pretty strong in these kids. Now I'm off to be the mean PE teacher to the boys....actually, i have gotten them to be more cooperative after i gave them a sheet of expectations for PE. We'll see how today goes. 10 sets of line or 15? what do you guys think?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Junk in the Trunk

Junk in the trunk. Our dinner table conversation this evening...Also, Janitzia ensuring the brothers about the song "I like big butts..." hmmnnn....

In other excitement the soccer team had its first practice today.

WE SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, I mean we have some work to do with our kids in kicking, positioning, pretty much any imaginiable skill you need to play soccer, we need it.


I had to share this, today, like everyday, we started our homeroom routine with group prayer. The prayer leader asked if there were any intentions and some of the students started raising their hands... when DeAndre was called on he prayed: "Lord, Please watch over them people's in Louisiana, they need to get offa their roofs, and Lord, I hope that water hurry ups and evaporates. (pause) Amen."

Monday, September 12, 2005

nyc pics

Here are some pictures from the weekend. We don't have that fantsy pantsy widescreen lens like Saul, but I'm just happy I figured out how to upload.


Sunday, September 11, 2005


It seems the early theme of the year is nicknames. Just this evening, on a community outing, I learned that the name of a native Lousianian is a "coonass". Although I decided against devouring the "coonass chicken" from the lovely cajun restaurant, I did decide in favor of calling Jonathan "coonass" from now on. I was assured that it is not a southern racial epithet, but is a rather endearing term.

I also have a nickname for Vicki which stems from a interesting tale she tells of a childhood love interest named Ryan Vondershmidt. Now, if Vicki would be so willing as to post the beginning of the story, I would happily finish it with the eternally humorous words of one Ryan Vonderschmidt. Blog readers please prod her to do so in your entries.

On a sidenote, congratulations 2005-2006 LV's, we are on pace to break the blog posting total of the 2004-2005 LV's. Cuidado, however, as blog postings dwindle as the year goes on. Suddenly we go from acknowledging the great work and funny stories of our lives, to not.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Friday, September 09, 2005

wisdom from elijah

As you all know, I have a tendency to attract some strange people to me. Tonight was no exception. After having dinner and a manhattan with the brothers at Lasalle Academy, I wandered over to Washington Square Park. As I'm chillin' & listening to beatles songs this old man with a walking stick, white braids, no shirt, and a denim bottom that didn't exactly resemble pants sat down next to me and started talking.

Of course, Elijah had spent some time in jail. A self-described nomad, he often gets in trouble for trespassing and generally not fitting in. He told me that he spent three years in one prison in Lousianna, and apparently much of it in solitary confinement since he would share his radical values with other prisoners and make the guards job much harder.

I asked him how he could be by himself, and he said something really valuable. He said that when Jesus said "love your neighbor as yourself", we miss that we really need to love ourselves. And that comes from spending time alone with ourselves and really being comfortable with who we are. How true, how true.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ann Nano's Apple Endorsement

OK, so I know that Ms. MacNamera is an important person, volunteering in Ethiopa for this next year and all... but this is getting just a little ridiculous!

What kind of royalties are you getting from them, now that they've named a freaking IPOD after you Ann Nano? And how on earth do you fit so many songs on such a small player!?


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mean Teachers!!!

So there seems to be a lot of discussion about being the mean teacher. I think its good to be firm with the kids, just not every moment of every day. I too have become the mean tutor in some ways. The other day a girl began to throw some major attitude at Br. Anthony and I cus we wouldn't let her use a computer so she could cheat on her homework assignment. I swear I wonder if these kids think we're idiots. She was all, "Well Br. Anthony, What am I supposed to tell my mom about me not finishing my homework? Aren't I supposed to do my HOMEWORK at the LEO CENTER?!" I immediately replied, "You need to watch your attitude, right now!" She said, "What attitude? I don't have an attitude." I was not going to let this eighth grader get the best of me so I told her to do her homework and not a word about the computer. Least to say she didn't talk to me for few days after that and actually most kids seem to ask Bridget for help before they ask me. Which is fine, I have thick skin. Like we used to say in grade school, "I am rubber and you're glue. Everything bounces off of me and sticks to you!"

So I guess, it just comes with a territory. Cus like the 2nd year kids said at orientation- we're not here to be their friends, we here to teach them. Or something like that. (Oh and by the way, I refer to everyone as a kid. I don't know why its just something I do.) Well take care and God help the mean teachers (and everyone else)!


These are pictures of our kids at San Miguel. The car pic is our "regular" group (we pick 'em up every morning)

Bladimir loves the attention.....needed a wide angle lens for that grin!

Cynthia, Ana, Lizbeth, Diego and Bladimir

I made my boys work really hard during PE today. I was quite impressed by their resolve after the principal gave them a good talking to for not listening to me. I made sure to make them remember what happens when they don't listen to mr. martinez during PE. Does that make me mean Jolleen? I sure hope not. I still let them play soccer (after ten suicide runs......) :-D Have a great day all!