And no, I am not talking about a heart pulse. But, that is somewhat accurate to what it is to be living a year-of-service with Marianist PULSE: It is to live with a heart…beat.
Marianist PULSE is a post-graduate, social justice rooted, year-of-service Catholic Volunteer Program that I had gone on right after I graduated from Chaminade University of Honolulu. I graduated in May 2019 and then in July 2019 I had flown from the islands of Hawai’i all the way to midwest Dayton, Ohio – with layovers of course, because I am a “Filipino cheapskate.” lol. OH! and PULSE stands for “Partners in Urban Leadership, Service and Education.”
For more information about Marianist PULSE click here.
So, on PULSE, we lived in intentional community with our fellow PULSErs (PULSE Volunteers). This PULSE year 2019-2020, we had volunteers from all over! Me from the Pacific Ocean, students from San Antonio in Texas, Missouri, West Virginia, Iowa, Dayton in Ohio and even from the Caribbean in Puerto Rico! It was great getting to meet all these wonderful new faces and even more awesome to get to have a familiar face from school come along this new journey with me.
PULSE had recruited students from the Marianist Sister Schools in the United States: Chaminade University of Honolulu in Hawaiʻi, St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas and The University of Dayton in Ohio. We had a special Jesuit guest coming in from West Virginia which was awesome because that opened my eyes to see the similarities that Catholics and Christians had with Jesuits. Growing up at a Catholic private school, I was taught that Catholics and Christians were different, and that we were only supposed to practice Catholicism, but as a middle schooler, I did not know any better. Oh well. 🤷🏾♂️
Anyways, On PULSE we lived in intentional community with our fellow PULSErs. And us PULSErs volunteered Full-Time – about 35 to 40 hours a week – at partnering Non-Profit Organizations around the Greater Dayton Area. I and a fellow PULSEr volunteered at Brigid’s Path, a new born recovery center for women, families and especially babies who are impacted by the Ohio Opioid Epidemic.
At Brigid’s Path I volunteered as the Communications and Marketing Intern. That was a great position for me as I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. and Isn’t that what you were supposed to do after you graduate from college? Get a job that matches with your degree? Well, I was totally in a positive high that I got to do some High-Level Communications and Marketing. I was stoked out of my mind, but I also did not know what the hell I was doing, too.
In my experience in college, my marketing expertise was more on a personal level with my own social media and my researched based in my classes. I hardly had a lot of “hands-on experiences” with any organizations or businesses, other than when I Student Work Studied for University Communications and Marketing at Chaminade University.
So, community life was a fun time. Five (5) guys under in one house? AND the fact that there were TWO (2) islanders under one roof? Heck yes! I was excited, but also nervous. “Nervous-cited,” I was, if you will. As a pansexual male with a strong lean towards males with commitment issues from a lot of the guy friends I had in the past, I was worried that I wouldn’t be liked for me just being me, whether or not the guys found out that I liked guys or not.
What made me even more nervous was the fact that I was a gamer and also an anime & manga otaku (meaning lover of anime & manga). I already had some hardships in high school for liking anime and manga and I even hid that fact in High School. In College I was able to live knowning that no one really cared about my interests. As long as I was myself and I loved myself and loved others I should be fine.
There was then a lot going on in my head. Knowing that I am 4,500 miles away from home, I am now half the Pacific Ocean AND two-thirds (2/3) of the Continental United States away from my small rock that I left. This on top of being nervous in a new environment, slowly took a toll on my mental health, but it was more happening in the background without me knowing.
And then The COVID-19 had hit China. Then, in March it was declared a pandemic. I had chosen to leave the program myself, legally I was let go from the Volunteer Program for something else that is personal. I chose to leave. It was pretty close to COVID-19 being called a pandemic and I would leave Dayton and return home to Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. It was a long 9 months, however I did not finish out the service year, I had a blast. It was quite awesome!
On the other hand, and looking back then, I was damn sad that I had to leave the program and everyone was doing everything to keep me, but What I think was happening was God trying to tell me that I needed to be home, especially right now. And so saying “yes” to PULSE, I brought that fiat and said, “yes” to leaving the Volunteer Program and coming back home, for whatever silver lining that was coming for me.
I am now back home on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, and am enjoying being back home. The Service year had ended earlier this month im the first week of July. Of Course, I was devastated that I could not physically be present on their end-of-year retreat, however as I was taught in Campus Ministry at Chaminade University, I can be present “in spirit” as well. Prayer is a powerful thing, and that whole week PULSE had their retreat, I prayed my daily prayers with PULSE everyday.
Now our lives move on and I take away the things that I learned during my time in Dayton and working for a Non-Profit and what I learned in community life. And I bring that all back home to Hawaiʻi to better serve my community life here at home.
Thank you for everything that I know, and because of you I am made stronger in the image and likeness of God, whom we know by many, many beautiful names.
“All I can do is imagine a world where there is peace with you.”-Andrew Patrick J.B. Ines