Tara Michelle Lonergan '09Education & English Major / Catholic Studies Concentration
My first year at Stonehill, I found two volunteer projects that I know I am destined to continue for the rest of my life, Special Olympics of Massachusetts and Habitat for Humanity. I am currently going into my fourth year of coaching for the Special Olympics swim team of Easton, which has about 25 athletes ranging in ages from 17 to 55. I run the practices, along with four other Stonehill students and an administrator, act as a role model for the athletes, organize fundraisers for the necessary money we need in order to participate in the Olympic games, and much more.
The athletes have become like family to me because of their hard work, determination, positive attitudes, and warm, caring hearts. In addition to being some of my closest friends, the athletes have inspired me to pursue Early Childhood Education at Stonehill College. I am currently student- teaching an intergrated pre-kindergarten classroom, which is what I would like do after graduate school.
Stonehill College has a sector in Habitat for Humanity in which I became involved in my first year at the College. After participating in various fundraisers, I took part in the 2007 spring break trip to Arlington, VA to work on the Perry Hall Apartments. It was amazing to be able to view the apartments before and after our long, hard days. The Habitat coordinators were grateful and friendly, which shed light on the fact that every little bit that you do helps!
Last year I worked in close conjunction with the Habitat Executive Board, as I was the vice president. We completed our alternative spring break trip in North Fort Myers, Florida. We started our project with a concrete slab on the land and got to raise the walls and roof, as well as put on hurricane straps and roof shingles. The days were long and hot, but it was so exciting to know that we started the foundation of a house that would benefit a family. We kept in touch with the AmeriCorps volunteers that we worked with and they have kept us updated on the progress of the house that we worked on.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in." I fully believe that in order for one's life to be fulfilled, one needs to be able to reach out to others and serve them in their time of need. I do not volunteer because I feel as though I am supposed to or to impress others, but rather because I love the way it makes me feel inside and the reaction I receive from those that I help.
Tara is from Brockton, MA.