Lawrence, Massachusetts, which lies 30 miles north of Boston, was the first organized industrial city in the United States, originally drawing significant populations of immigrant Irish and Italian workers. Today, the city is predominated by Hispanic and Southeast Asian cultures. While Lawrence battles high poverty rates, the Merrimack Valley, the larger area of which Lawrence is a part, is also home to several affluent neighborhoods. The close proximity of very different socio-economic populations offers a wide range of service opportunities. The volunteers live just outside of the city in the neighboring town of Methuen and serve in Lawrence and throughout the Merrimack Valley.
Merrimack College Campus Ministry
In their own words:
The Grace J. Palmisano Center for Campus Ministry at Merrimack College fosters the spiritual development of the entire Merrimack community: students, faculty, staff and administrators, by helping them grow in their friendship with God and utilize their strengths and talents in service to God’s people. All members of our community are invited to recognize and respond to God’s call by participating in prayer and worship, retreats, service outreach, sacramental preparation, faith education, pastoral care, spiritual direction and other programs, in order to help bring about a world of peace, justice and harmony. Our programs are open to members of all faiths, to enrich lives outside the classroom.
How AVs serve at Merrimack:
The volunteer’s primary role at Merrimack College is to coordinate the school’s effort to engage the students in service to the wider local community. He or she organizes the seasonal donation drives throughout the year as well as assists in organizing and overseeing the school’s day of service, Mack Gives Back. Additionally, the volunteer works at Merrimack’s resource center in Lawrence, Hands to Help, to assist in the various programs that run out of that office, mainly the after school tutoring program for local elementary and middle school students.
Lawrence Catholic Academy
In their own words:
Lawrence Catholic Academy is an Age 3 through Grade 8 Elementary School located in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It offers a motivating and full-bodied curriculum, enlightened by Catholic teaching and offers all students an excellent education in a faith-filled and supportive environment. The faculty strives to permeate the school with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. We, as a faith community, have accepted the mandate of Jesus Christ to “love one another as I have loved you.” In conjunction with the family and the Catholic Church community, we foster the spiritual, intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of the whole child.
How AVs serve at LCA:
The volunteer(s) serves as a Paraprofessional, assisting teachers with daily activities including “circle time,” preparing and facilitating projects and activities, supervising recess, lunch, and nap time, and substitute teaching when the need arises. He or she may also assist with the before-school and after-school programs or extra curricular activities.
St. Augustine School
In their own words:
At St. Augustine School, a strong Catholic identity is the foundation of everything we do from growing and learning together to embracing the diversity of our school community. As educators, we work to enable all of our students to reach their full potential. We do this by engaging the whole child spiritually, emotionally, socially, and academically.
In addition to offering a balanced learning environment, student life at St. Augustine School is rich with opportunity, from extracurricular activities to faith outreach programs. For parents, there are many chances to participate. We recognize that it is through the commitment and dedication of our families that we are able to advance as a school.
How AVs serve at St. Augustine’s:
The volunteer serves as a Substitute Teacher in all subjects, nursery through 8th grade. He or she also works with students from all grades who need extra and assists with the after-school program, field trips and a variety of extra curricular activities.