Juntos podremos hacer grandes cosas: oportunidades de voluntariado en South Bend

Click here for the English version of this post.

Escrito por María Agustina Cedeño, intérprete y traductora.

“Usted puede hacer lo que yo no puedo. Yo puedo hacer lo que usted no puede. Juntos podremos hacer grandes cosas”

Madre Teresa

Soy de Ecuador y me mudé a South Bend hace casi cinco años. Una vez en los Estados Unidos y con una visa H4, no tenía autorización para trabajar; pero para mí eso no fue impedimento para mantenerme activa, productiva y, al mismo tiempo, ayudar a los demás. Me gustaría compartir algunas de las enriquecedoras experiencias que he tenido como voluntaria; y así, incentivar a la comunidad de Notre Dame (profesores, estudiantes, personal en general, amigos, y cónyuges extranjeros, como es mi caso) a contribuir con estas causas. Creo que cada una de nuestras contribuciones es valiosa y mejora tanto nuestras vidas personales como la sociedad en general.

Comencé con mis actividades de voluntariado como locutora en WSND-FM 88.9, la estación de Radio de Notre Dame. Mi función allí es la de seleccionar la música clásica que se transmite todos los martes en el “Concierto de la Mañana”, así como indicar la identificación y ubicación de la estación radial cada hora. Creo que es una bonita forma de contribuir, no solo a la comunidad de Notre Dame, sino también a la población local; y, al mismo tiempo, es una manera de aprender más sobre la belleza de la música clásica. Si está interesado/a en ser voluntario/a en la radio de Notre Dame, por favor comuníquese con Peter Farrough.

WSND-FM 88.9, estación de radio de Notre Dame

También colaboro con el Programa “Read Baby Read (RBR)“, en el Centro de Artes y Cultura de Notre Dame. Este programa infunde bondad desde muy temprana edad en la vida de los niños, al mismo tiempo que se familiarizan con otro idioma y cultura a través de la lectura de pequeñas historias y canciones de niños, tanto en inglés como en español. Pienso que es importante enseñar a los niños lo divertido y lo bueno que es ser parte de la diversidad que existe en el mundo, por eso considero que ellos deberían involucrarse con otras etnias y culturas desde temprana edad. Esto les inculca principios más sólidos y, como resultado, tendrán una interacción amigable y más positiva con la sociedad. Si está interesado/a en ser voluntario/a en este programa, por favor comuníquese con Toni Fein o Jennifer Wittenbrink Ortega.

Programa Read Baby Read (RBR)

Además coopero con el Programa de Reconciliación de Víctimas y Victimarios (VORP, por sus siglas en inglés) del Centro de Justicia Comunitaria de Elkhart, donde soy voluntaria como intérprete y traductora para la comunidad Latinx. Así mismo, ofrezco mis servicios voluntarios como mediadora, para lo cual completé un curso de capacitación. En VORP, utilizamos una visión de justicia, basada en la comunidad, para ayudar a que las víctimas y los victimarios lleguen a un acuerdo que beneficie a ambas partes: los victimarios tienen la oportunidad de demostrar su arrepentimiento mientras evitan un castigo adicional y las víctimas reciben una justa indemnización. A través de la comunicación, tanto las víctimas como los victimarios, deben ver las cosas “poniéndose los unos en el lugar de los otros”. Es importante dejar claro que no se debe abusar de la generosidad de los demás y que no puede haber una paz duradera sin justicia. Si está interesado/a en ser voluntario/a en este programa, por favor comuníquese con Anne Lehman.

Voluntarias y voluntarios en el Elkhart Center for Community Justice

Además, soy voluntaria de español en la Escuela Católica “Holy Cross”, en el “Programa de Doble Inmersión” en colaboración con el Instituto de Estudios Latinos y la Alianza para la Educación Católica de la Universidad de Notre Dame. Programas como éste enseñan y preparan a los niños, desde el prekínder, a ser bilingües (en inglés y español). Además, en el programa se inculcan muy buenos valores y principios, en ambos idiomas. Creo firmemente que constituir una buena base de valores e inculcar una educación bilingüe en los niños en temprana edad será una combinación muy útil para sus vidas. De esta manera, estarán preparados para crear un mundo mejor para ellos, para quienes los rodean y para la sociedad en general. Si está interesado/a en ser voluntario/a en este programa, por favor comuníquese con Katy Lichon.

Holy Cross Catholic School

Y, por último, también fui co-mentora, intérprete y traductora en el Programa “Reading For Life (RFL)” en el Centro de Justicia Juvenil de South Bend (JJC, por sus siglas en inglés), una alternativa a la cárcel para delincuentes juveniles. El programa consideraba las ofensas por parte de los jóvenes como el resultado de “daños en su desarrollo moral”. Los delincuentes suelen ser víctimas de su propio entorno; por lo tanto, los jóvenes deberían estar expuestos a mejores circunstancias, así como a programas como este, en el cual a través de la lectura se le inculcaban las siete virtudes: justicia, prudencia, templanza, fortaleza, fidelidad, esperanza y caridad. Era importante mostrar a estos jóvenes adolescentes un camino de esperanza en un mundo donde las cosas funcionaran de una manera diferente al mundo al que ellos habían estado expuestos. Para mí, fue muy alentador saber que el programa tenía un porcentaje de éxito del 97% en mantener a los jóvenes fuera de problemas. Pienso que a los jóvenes se les debe dar una segunda oportunidad ya que todos cometemos errores, especialmente cuando aún somos inmaduros o inexpertos.

Los beneficios del programa Reading for Life (RFL)

A pesar del éxito de este programa, lamentablemente se terminó en junio del 2018. Espero que algún día se reabra este programa y así vuelva a ser esa luz de esperanza para aquellos jóvenes que necesiten ayuda. Esta experiencia fue realmente una de las que más me impactó, debido a su efectividad y a todos los cambios positivos que pude notar en los adolescentes que lograron completar el programa. Incluso me gustaría promover el desarrollo de programas como este en países como el mío. Programas como estos funcionan porque se basan en principios sólidos y en una investigación efectiva. Pienso que las personas debemos tener la esperanza de que las cosas siempre pueden mejorar, ya que el sentimiento de esperanza es lo que realmente nos impulsa a esforzarnos más.

En conclusión, como dijo la Madre Teresa, si todos unificáramos nuestras habilidades y esfuerzos podríamos “hacer grandes cosas” para nuestras comunidades. El concepto general del voluntariado es dar nuestro tiempo sin recibir nada a cambio. Sin embargo, mi experiencia ha sido todo lo contrario: yo soy la que más ha aprendido de los demás. El voluntariado me ha enseñado a valorar aquello que es realmente importante y ha cambiado mi vida para siempre. Esta transformación no se debe únicamente a las organizaciones en las cuales he participado; sino a las personas con quienes he compartido. No puedo describir la gratitud que mi corazón siente por cada una de las personas e instituciones que han formado parte de esta experiencia. Gracias a todos por iluminar mi vida aún más. El voluntariado es algo que levanta y enriquece nuestro espíritu y embellece nuestra alma. Nunca antes me había sentido tan afortunada, en un nivel espiritual, como me siento ahora. ¡Es algo que simplemente no tiene precio! Los invito a formar parte de esta hermosa experiencia. ¡Les cambiará la vida también!

 

Together We Can Do Great Things: Opportunities for Volunteering in South Bend

Aquí encontrará la versión en español de este artículo .

Guest post written by María Agustina Cedeño, interpreter and translator. 

 

“You can do what I cannot. I can do what you cannot. Together we can do great things”.

Mother Teresa

I am from Ecuador and moved to South Bend almost five years ago. Once in the USA, with an H4 visa, I was not authorized to work, but that did not keep me from trying to be active, productive, and, at the same time, help others. I would like to share some of the enriching experiences that I have had as a volunteer to encourage the Notre Dame community (faculty, students, staff, friends, and international spouses like myself) to contribute to these causes. I believe each and every single one of our contributions is valuable and it will surely improve the state of the world we live in.

I started with my volunteering activities as an announcer at WSND-FM 88.9, the Notre Dame Radio station. My role there is to choose the classical music selection broadcasted every Tuesday in the “Morning Concert,” as well as announcing the hourly Notre Dame ID and location. I think this is a nice way to contribute, not only to the Notre Dame community, but also to the population in the area; and at the same time, it is a way of learning more about the beauty of classical music. If you are interested in volunteering at the Notre Dame radio station, please contact Peter Farrough.

 

WSND-FM 88.9, Notre Dame radio station

I also collaborate in the Read Baby Read (RBR) Program, at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, which instills kindness very early in kids’ lives while they get familiar with another language and culture through listening to short stories and songs in English and Spanish. I think it is important to teach kids about how fun and good it is to be part of the diversity that exists in the world; so I consider that they should get involved with other ethnicities and cultures from an early age. This teaches solid and kinder principles to them; and as a result, they would have a friendly and a more positive interaction with society. If you are interested in volunteering at Read Baby Read, please contact Toni Fein or Jennifer Wittenbrink Ortega.

Read Baby Read (RBR) Program

I also cooperate with the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) at the Elkhart Center for Community Justice, where I volunteer as an interpreter and translator for the Latinx community. I also offer my services as a mediator, for which I completed a training course. At VORP, we use a community-based vision of justice to help bringing victims and offenders to an agreement that benefits both parties: the offenders get an opportunity to demonstrate their repentance while avoiding further punishment, and the victims get fair restitution. Through communication, both victims and offenders, should see things from the “other side of the fence.” It is important to make it clear that people’s generosity is not to be abused, and that there cannot be lasting peace without justice. If you are interested in volunteering at Center for Community Justice, please contact Anne Lehman.

Volunteers at the Elkhart Center for Community Justice

Also, I am a Spanish volunteer at the Holy Cross Catholic School, in a Two-Way Immersion Program in conjunction with the Institute for Latino Studies and the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. Programs like this, teach and train kids from pre-kinder to be bilingual (English and Spanish). This will give them better opportunities in the world in general, as it is globally connected, and it gets more and more competitive; so the earlier the kids get prepared for it, the better it will be for them. Besides, the children, at the program, are instilled very good values and fine principles, in both languages, which will definitely influence their lives positively. They are good hearted people and they surely will always be successful. I strongly believe that instilling a good foundation of values and a bilingual education to kids in their early ages will be a very useful combination for their lives. This way, I believe that they would be prepared to create a much better world for themselves, for those around them, and for society in general. If you are interested in volunteering at the Two-Way Immersion Program, please contact Katy Lichon.

Holy Cross Catholic School

Lastly, I also volunteered as a Co-Mentor and as the Spanish interpreter and translator, in the Reading for Life (RFL) Program at the South Bend Juvenile Justice Center (JJC), an alternative to jail for juvenile delinquents. The program would see offenses by the youth as the result of a “breakdown in moral development.” Delinquents are usually victims of their own environment; thus, young people should be exposed to better circumstances such as this program, where they would practice reading while learning about the seven virtues: justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude, fidelity, hope, and charity. It was important to show these young teenagers that there was hope in a world where things functioned in a different way from what they had been exposed to. It was very encouraging to learn that the program had a 97% success rate in keeping kids out of trouble. I believe that young people need to be given a second chance as we all make mistakes, especially when immature or inexperienced.

Benefits of the Reading for Life (RFL) Program

Even though this program was very successful, it sadly ended by June 2018. I hope that at some point this program will be continued and that way it could be again that light of hope for those young people who may need help. This experience was one of which impacted me the most, because of its effectiveness and all the positive changes I could notice in the teenagers who were able to complete the program. I would even like to promote the development of programs like this one in countries like mine. Programs like these do work because are based on sound principles and good research. I think people should believe that there is always hope that things can improve, as the feeling of hope is what really drives us to try harder.

In conclusion, as Mother Teresa said, if we were all able to unify our abilities and efforts, we could do great things and thus achieve many benefits for our communities; and in that way, we would all have a better world. Volunteering is part of that, and speaking by my own experience, it has surely changed my life forever. It has taught me to value what is really important. The general concept of volunteering is to give your time without receiving anything in return, as well as transforming the lives of others with your contribution. However, based on my experience, I can say that it has been the opposite, I feel that I am the one who has learned the most from the others. I also believe that my life has been the one that has received the most positive transformation; not only by the organizations in which I volunteered but also and especially by those people to whom I have directly provided my volunteer service. I cannot describe the amount of gratitude that my heart holds for each person and institutions that have been part of this rewarding and so meaningful experience. Thanks to every one for enlightening my life even more. Volunteering, definitely, is something that lifts and enriches our spirit and embellishes our soul. I had never felt so fortunate before, spiritually speaking, as I feel now. It is simply priceless! Being a volunteer, without a doubt, has been the most inspiring experience of my life. I invite you all to be part of this beautiful experience. It will change your lives too!

 

 

Running & Other Adventures in the Bend

Guest post by Kelly Heilman, Ph.D. Candidate in Biological Sciences

Spending time outside running, hiking, and generally exploring has always been my preferred form of stress relief. When I moved to South Bend, this was no different. Could South Bend be a good place for an outdoor adventurer, you ask? While we don’t have mountains to run up and ski down, I discovered an active running community and several unique recreation opportunities in the area. From running, to backpacking, and exploring the region’s outdoor resources, I’m listing my favorite opportunities that I wish I had known about earlier in my Grad Life here at Notre Dame.

If you don’t see your adventure sport of choice featured below—don’t fret! Some friends in my department & I co-founded a graduate jogging group (see JOGS below) because we realized there were no social running groups that currently served the needs of graduate students. So, if you would like to see a new group on campus, chances are you are not alone! Get out there and have an adventure!

South Bend Offers an Active Running Community and Recreation Opportunities Such As Running, Hiking, and Backpacking
Organized Running & Adventure Groups:

JOGS (Jogging Organization for Graduate Students): A new SAO approved club that for ND Graduate Students interested in jogging! We host at least 2 runs each week (Runs this semester are on Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm), and our goal is to create a fun social network of Joggers/runners on campus. Email jogs@nd.edu for more information!

Fleet Feet Pub Runs: Every Wednesday evening Fleet Feet hosts a 5k pub/social run around ND campus, leaving from O’Rourkes on Eddy Street. You get to meet a lot of different runners (who run a lot of different paces) & several people often hang around O’Rourkes afterwards.

South Bend Adventure Club: Informal adventure group in the region whose members organize hikes, backpacking trips, kayak outings, and much more. I have organized some ski events & a Backpacking trip in the Ozarks with this group. The group’s Facebook page is how events are organized.

Local Parks to Explore:

St. Patrick’s County Park: Local favorite with some fun running trails, as well as many community events. They also offer cross-country skiing (including rentals) in the winter!

Potato Creek State Park: State park in Indiana with hiking & running trails, mountain biking, and a small lake. 

Warren Dunes & Grand Mere State Parks: Two different state parks in MI with sand dunes you can hike up, access to Lake Michigan, and some trails through the woods.

Get outside & adventuring!