Waking up at 4:10 each morning, I begin my morning routine to the local YMCA pool where I swim a few laps followed by running a few miles outside in shorts. It’s a funny feeling that I can do both of these things in the winter, but that is one of the many things I am thankful for as an Augustinian Volunteer in San Diego. My assignment as an Augustinian Volunteer is at St. Patrick’s School, as the Physical Education and Technology teacher. St. Patrick’s is in a developing area in California surrounded by coffee shops, taco stands, and many bars.
Being from the east coast, I remember always roaming around the hallways when I would get kicked out of class. I assumed that was the only structure for a school building that existed. Instead, students exit their classroom and head outside to go to the restroom, to lunch, the offices, or another classroom if need be. Another unique aspect of St. Patrick’s is that there is, in fact, no gymnasium. This presents a challenge that each volunteer must adapt to each year. When it rains, you have to adjust the class schedule too. This includes playing classic games of “Heads Up Seven Up” or “Hang Man” in their homeroom for class.
At orientation in August, I was asked what I was grateful for. My response was, “just to be alive.” Truth is, growing up in the projects of New York was hard. From the drive-by shootings each night to the police busting down doors. My time as an Augustinian Volunteer these past six months has allowed me to reflect on my life and see that I am grateful for so many other things. Just being an Augustinian Volunteer alone has made me so grateful. I am grateful to watch football games with Keara each Sunday, surf with Claire on the weekends, and eat wings on Thursdays with Marty. These people who are called my “community members” are much bigger than that. We all come from different households and backgrounds, but that’s what makes us and the AV program so unique. We accept each other and look after one another. We have formed a bond that can’t be broken. We aren’t just four community members who just live together in San Diego. We are four people that have become a family.
San Diego, CA 2019-2020