“Some Days” – from Doug McNicol, Cristo Rey Boston Volunteer

I’ve got to be honest. Some days are better than others. Some days you don’t think you will see any improvement. And some days you can’t help but smile. Yet at the end of the day, I still thank God for putting me here.

As a full-time volunteer in the Corporate Work Study office, my main focus is always my work – putting the mission of Cristo Rey at the helm while communicating effectively with staff, sponsors, and students. I feel that every day I am adapting and learning all the time. I am adapting to the sometimes unpredictable nature of the job and learning how to multi-task as well given the ratio of 304 students to 4 Work Study staff members. These two factors alone contribute to an accelerated work experience which is something that is very new to me.

I graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in May and have wanted to do a year of volunteer work ever since my sophomore year. My four years at SJU taught me that service to others is the personification of God’s love. It is the rent we pay for being. I have decided to immerse myself fully in this year working full time for Cristo Rey Boston, living in community with four other volunteers, and doing my best to develop a spiritual foundation so that I can find God in all that I do. This year is extremely demanding for all of us volunteers but we always do our best to keep the students at the heart of what we do.

This year, the volunteers were asked to help out with an extra-curricular activity. I noticed at the start of the year that Cristo Rey did not have a choir. I have been singing for many years and find that music can be a peaceful oasis in the overwhelming desert of schoolwork. It is also a great discipline for students to learn. The newly formed choir has sung at two masses for the school so far. Last night we debuted “Feeling Good” in front of the whole school. Immediately after, we sang “Jingle Bells” at the State House Christmas Tree lighting in honor of Tip O’Neill. We were surrounded by government officials, beautiful inner-city children, Jeff, and news camera crews. It was such a thrill to sing in front of all these people. At the moment we were singing, it warmed my heart to see the students smiling back at me.

Like I said, some days are better than others but the silver lining comes in the form of our students.

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