By: Vanessa Ingram
An eleven year old boy is addicted to pain killers and living in a dilapidated house along with several other youths who are forever trapped in an endless cycle of drugs and poverty.
When witnessing a situation like this, we as human beings cannot help but ask ourselves, what can I do to make a difference? Jeb Berg asked himself this same question when he attended a CCASL retreat during his junior year at Gonzaga University.
“I couldn’t unsee it, I couldn’t unknow, and I couldn’t unlearn that experience.” He said as he described his life changing experience with CCASL. Berg had previously pursued a business degree and hoped to possibly acquire a job on Wall Street.
But since that retreat, Berg has devoted his life to his fellow man by serving his community and now works as the community outreach coordinator at CCASL.
For the past 19 years, CCASL has been the center of community involvement and outreach within Gonzaga University by providing service-learning opportunities, managing career volunteer programs, and referring students to other volunteer programs off campus.
Through CCASL, not only do students have the opportunity to make a difference through community service, but they are also given various leadership skills and challenges that have a great impact on who they are. “It has really impacted me a lot…” said Alicia Hungerford, a sophomore who is serving her second year at CCASL.
Although CCASL has experienced a large amount of participation from the Gonzaga student body over the years, there is a scarce number of male participants in each program.
As a result, CCASL is always looking for male participants for volunteers, especially in mentoring programs where young boys are in need of positive male role-models.
After expressing his first experience with CCASL, Berg also gave his opinion as to why there is such low male participation in CCASL programs. “They try to avoid situations where they will be uncomfortable or seem uncool, but what they don’t realize is that it is in that uncomfortable situation where they begin to grow as a person.”
Jeb urges male students to consider joining any of these programs because it is a life changing experience that they will not regret. “CCASL is a place where transformation happens”, he continued.