Kathleen Bulson ’09 has always enjoyed volunteering and helping others. Her experience as a Lasallian Volunteer taught her independence and set her on a career path in service work.
Kathleen Bulson ’09, a double major in psychology and communication, was active in campus ministry and social action before becoming a Lasallian volunteer. She was a founding board member of the L.O.V.E. program and went on a few service trips, including Galveston, Texas, Dominican Republic and Camp Sunshine, Maine.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve volunteered, whether with Girl Scouts, Key club or L.O.V.E. service trips. Part of me has always been called to give back through service,” she says. “Lasallian Volunteers combined all of my desires while offering me a gateway into the professional world, an outlet to challenge and deepen my faith.”
During her year of service at De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., Bulson worked in the Lasallian Youth Ministry office, where she headed up volunteering. She met with students before school to brainstorm and plan service projects both at the school and in the community, including a day of service for more than 200 people in 20 sites across Portland. Bulson also ran an afterschool help group for freshmen and tutored juniors in math throughout the day. In addition, she co-facilitated a peer-mentoring group for students to find positive ways to discuss challenging issues.
She says that volunteering with the LVs was the best decision she made at Manhattan College.
“The motto of the LVs is ‘touching hearts and teaching minds,’ but I feel like that was more of our payment for volunteering,” she says. “Being 3,000 miles from home, knowing no one, can be pretty daunting, but hearing my students’ challenging life experiences gave me strength to be a positive force of change and support in their lives. They were inspirational balancing complicated issues ranging from poverty, parents in prison, divorce, teen pregnancy to sexual abuse with rigorous academics ... It amazes me that a 20-something could make an impact just by listening and showing up.”
Lasallian Volunteers combined all of my desires while offering me a gateway into the professional world, an outlet to challenge and deepen my faith.
Now Bulson works as an early intervention service coordinator for Hear our Voices in the Bronx, where she advocates for families with infants with developmental delays to help them get the best services for their children. She also works in a residential treatment center in Westchester County for teens with mental illnesses.
“The LVs eased me into the ‘real world,’” she says. “While growing more independent, I also learned to be true to myself and my values. These values of generosity, compassion and honesty were echoed in the Lasallian totems of faith, service and community, and were only enhanced by being in a faith-filled community.”