Each Wednesday, Jesuit seniors scatter around the metroplex to serve their community. This tradition, wisely required of every senior in order to graduate, sends young men to a variety of service sites, from tutoring at other schools to working on a farm. Meals on Wheel is the largest, but next in line is the Notre Dame School of Dallas, which draws on average 40 seniors a week.
So What’s at Notre Dame?
Notre Dame, not to be confused with the university, is a special needs school in Dallas that serves students with developmental disabilities ages 6 through 21. On Wednesdays, 2-3 Jesuits prepare with each classroom of around 10 students. For the two and a half hours that they are there, the Jesuits will assist these students in their education and provide mentorship to the best of their ability. According to Luke May 22′, “we do whatever we can to help.”
I am personally attending Notre Dame as my service site every other week for the past semester. My experience is that there is no rulebook or guide as to what a Jesuit may encounter; each day is a case-by-case scenario. On some days, we can execute all tasks smoothly. Sometimes, however, problems arise that are beyond our capabilities. Thankfully, Notre Dame’s terrific and dedicated staff help Jesuits soothe out the varying personalities held by Notre Dame’s students. Regardless of the situation, I have realized that the best way to serve at Notre Dame has been with flexibility, energy, and enthusiasm.
As a longtime partner of the Jesuit Service department, Notre Dame has provided hundreds of Jesuit seniors with the opportunity to immerse themselves in an unfamiliar environment. These students can then develop an empathetic understanding of not only the challenges others face, but how they confront them, and how we can help.
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