Hello fellow volunteers, community members, board members, and other LBFE staff. I am Andrew Kolebuck, a current sophomore at Boston College studying Finance with a minor in Managing for Social Impact and the Public Good. I am originally from Leesburg, Virginia, about an hour or so away from Washington D.C. Today, I am going to tell you about my favorite class at Boston College titled PULSE, which is the same class that introduced me to LBFE Boston. PULSE is a year-long service-based learning program that BC students can opt to take to satisfy their philosophy requirements and their theology requirements, both of which are required for all Boston College students as a part of our liberal arts core curriculum.
I like to think of PULSE, which stands for The Person and Social Responsibility, as more of an experience than a class. While half of my time is spent in the classroom reading and discussing the works of various philosophers and Christian theologians, the other half is spent with LBFE, which offered me a volunteer position as a “head leader” through its partnership with BC’s PULSE program. At the very beginning of the year, Boston College hosts all of its non-profit partners, including LBFE, to come to campus and introduce PULSE students to their organizations in hopes of finding a“match.” Each PULSE student will attend 3 presentations of 3 different potential service partners the night of the fair and, after doing more research, will rank the top 6 service partners they want to work with.
After doing interviews with the non-profit, the service partner will either accept or decline that applicant. Luckily for me, LBFE Boston | Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly was the very first presentation I attended the night of the fair and the only place I interviewed at, so I guess you could say it was meant to be. I instantly gravitated toward working with LBFE, given the age demographic they work with. My grandma founded an assisted living community in Toledo, Ohio, so I already had experience with older adults going into the semester. I currently serve at 2 different locations 3 times a week with LBFE as a part of their brand-new Digital Dividends The program teaches technology classes for older adults living in Boston’s affordable housing developments.
My time spent with LBFE this past semester has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have been able to participate in at Boston College thus far. Going to service is genuinely the highlight of my week every single week – not exaggerating. I have not only taught the older adults about google, Gmail, google docs, zoom, and online shopping but have also taught them about ways to prevent them from getting scammed and other methods they can practice to stay safe online.
My favorite part of each class is the excitement I see on each of my student’s faces when they learn something new, specifically the moment when I showed them that their Chromebook could also bend all the way backward to “transition” into an iPad. Finally, above all, my favorite part about LBFE is not actually the computer aspect of the class but rather the relationships I have been able to build over the course of the semester. I have learned when you show that you care about other people, those same people will show their appreciation for you. My favorite moment of programming happened during the second to last class just a week ago, when one of my students expressed to me how grateful she was for LBFE, saying that she would only continue with the class in February if I were going to continue with the class too. I blushed and simply told her with a smile, “see you next semester, Patricia.”
The Digital Dividends program has not only strengthened my communication and leadership skills but has helped me understand the seriousness of tech inequity for low-income, older adults living in the United States. I have gained a deeper appreciation for non-profits and those who run them, especially Teresa Yao, who accepted me into the LBFE family with open arms and an open heart. Together, along with all of the other Northeastern volunteers, we have been able to create something truly special and, perhaps most importantly, a class that all of our older adults will never forget.