Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cristo Rey

This Friday past, I went to volunteer at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. I have been going weekly since about the end of September. I knew at the start of this year that I wanted to volunteer this year, I wanted to volunteer to get the full Loyola experience. I was having trouble finding a volunteer opportunity that I felt suited me. When I heard about Cristo Rey, I immediately wanted to know more about the initiative.
The position I signed up for was homework help because I was told that was where the most help was needed. I remember my first day being nervous that I would have to help the students with math. I hate math, I have always hated math, so needless to say I was worried. I was relieved when the student I was helping, Xavier, pulled out history books, my major. I really liked helping Xavier with understanding the concepts he was learing, Ancient Greece.
I believe that it is less tutoring and more so talking to the students that make the impact on them. Down the road they will not remember the person that just helped them with homework one time, they will remember the person that talked to them, got to know them, asked them questions about themself, and was able to answer questions about things other than school work. I remember Xavier asking me what I felt the biggest difference between college and high school was. My response was that in high school you are taught facts and undisputed information, however, in college you are given facts, but you must use those facts and apply them into arguements. Another difference I believe is that in college there is not anyone to hold your hand and pull you through. In high school, teachers will hassle students to get their work done, in college, however, the responsibility is solely the student's. You must be able to manage the workload yourself to be successful.
Another good thing about volunteering at Cristo Rey, is being able to see the Jesuit ideals put into action. "Cura Personalis" or care for the whole person is especially prevalent in the halls of the school. The school is structured so that each student gets individual attention. Even the homework help is structured with one tutor per student. The school also instills a good work ethic into the students through a weekly internship the students participate in. One day a week they work 8 hours at a local business as an intern. The business in turn subsidizes part of the students tuition.
The concept of this school is brilliant and it is good to see that the concept is actually being put into action. I look foward to returning to Cristo Rey next semester and hopefully in a larger capacity. Through helping the students there, I gain a better sense of who I am and the person I want to be. I am very satisfied with my volunteering experience at Loyola, and look to carry my experiences with me into the future.

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