Julia Mach ’18 earned a double bachelors from Lewis in Secondary Education and English. Believe it or not, English is not her first language.
“I decided to go into the teaching field because I struggled with learning English after being adopted from Russia,” says Julia. “I was academically behind when I came to the United States. I wanted to help others students who struggle with comprehending the English language and the things that go along with that, like comprehension and writing.”
Julia wants to get working in the classroom as soon as she can, but for now, she’s opted to transform lives in a different way as a Lasallian Volunteer. As a volunteer, she performs service projects and outreach for a community she is assigned to work in.
Julia turned to a life of service after participating in multiple Lewis University Ministry Alternative Trip Experiences (LUMINATE). During LUMINATE, Lewis students enter a weekend long or week-long service trip during Spring break or after finals are completed in May. LUMINATE service projects include tasks like building houses or gardening all while learning about the importance of social and cultural justice. This year, her volunteerism has taken her to Oregon, Nevada, Washington, and Alaska.
“I was amazed at what could get done in a week, and I liked the idea of being able to live in a new place and meeting new people while helping those who need it most. I liked that I was filling a need.”
Julia calls to mind one young boy who made a lasting impact on her during a volunteer experience at DeLaSalle Academy in California. The boy, a fifth-grade student who struggled with the English language, had the academic comprehension level of a child in the third-grade. Julia worked with him one-on-one for a year to help him improve his reading, writing, and speaking skills. At the end of one year, the boy reached a comprehension level of a fourth-grader and was eligible to remain in his school.
“These experiences are meaningful to me because I like knowing that my skills are being used somewhere that they’re actually needed. It makes me want to do my absolute best for those left to my care.”
Right now, Julia is in Concord, California working to improve the lives of underserved residents and children in the area.
“It has been a great experience to live in California and to be a part of the group. My community gets along really well with each other and we’ve become a small family over the past year. I will miss them, but I’m looking forward to joining a new community next year.”
Julia plans to remain with the Lasallian Volunteers for a bit longer, but looks forward to coming back to the classroom to earn her master’s degree in Social Work to help children. When Julia isn’t performing service, she enjoys traversing the Concord and San Francisco areas of California, attending festivals and making new friends. While the travel is fun, she says it’s really about bringing joy and service to where she is assigned.
“My goal is to make as much of a difference as possible for the people I serve. I’m not just there to fill a job, I’m there to fill a need. I want to make an everlasting impression on others.”