Lasallian Volunteer Program Leads to NYC Teaching Fellows

Catherine Calogero ’10 initially came to MC to become a doctor. But her passion for serving others led her into the Lasallian Volunteers program. She's now a part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program and hopes to teach science to underserved students.

Catherine Calogero ’10, a chemistry major with minors in math, biology and Spanish, began volunteering at the John XXIII Educational Center in Racine, Wis., shortly after graduation in August and finished her second year in June.

Calogero had participated in two L.O.V.E. trips while at Manhattan, Ecuador and Kenya, and became more interested in campus ministry and social action projects, including Lasallian Collegians, as well as the Lasallian Volunteer program, as a result.

“Through those trips, I became very passionate about service for others,” she says. “I had come to Manhattan wanting to be a doctor, and throughout my coursework and time there, I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. It just seemed kind of natural to me to take the time to decide what I wanted to do by taking a break and joining a program where I could serve others.”

The John XXIII Educational Center began three years ago as an after-school site for supervised study hall, mentoring and tutoring, and Calogero is responsible for overseeing study hall sessions, assisting students with homework, projects and school assignments, maintaining the library, and planning and organizing weekly social activities for the students. During the day, the Center offers outreach programs at various middle school sites, for which Calogero also facilitates four different mini courses on topics related to anger management, gossip, bullying, self-esteem and health-related issues.

While she was undecided about her career plans when she started the program, being a LV has provided her with a definite future goal. Calogero will begin the New York City Teaching Fellows program in June and wants to teach science. And maybe further down the road, she will start a program like the one in which she currently serves.

Everything I am doing now is something I said I never would do, so it has really been a growth experience for me.

“I think the program we have in Wisconsin does a great service for a lot of students, those who may fall through the cracks with public education,” she says.

And the program has done a lot for her, too. Calogero credits her experience as a LV with changing her both professionally and personally.

“Everything I am doing now is something I said I never would do, so it has really been a growth experience for me,” she says. “It has been challenging for sure, and there have been times when I’ve questioned if I am really making a difference in what I am doing, but I think that the growth, the change and the accomplishment that I see in some of our students really outweighs the days when I am challenged by them, or maybe feel like what we are doing is not so important.”