Here at the BLC, we are extremely lucky to be one of the sites for Boston College’s PULSE program for service learning. We have had the great opportunity of having 5 amazing undergrad students volunteering with us since September 2014, and as their time with us is soon coming to an end, we wanted to hear a little bit about what their BLC experiences have been like. Today we’d like to introduce Christine Rotondo!
1) What drew you to the BLC during your PULSE placement process?
I was drawn to the BLC after attending the PULSE Town Meeting on campus. I enjoyed hearing about the different activities that occur, from the Cyberspace computer lab to sculpting in the art room and Monday night dinners. I enjoyed touring the BLC because everyone, both staff and members, warmly welcomed us PULSE students and were open to any questions that we had. The BLC stood out to me for its overall commitment to fostering a safe community for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Boston area.
2) What is/are your favorite part(s) about volunteering at the BLC?
My favorite part about volunteering at the BLC is definitely working the coatroom because I get to interact with each member as they arrive for lunch. Whether exchanging a quick hello or talking about our plans for the week, it is a gratifying opportunity to individually touch base with each member.
3) What has been one moment that has stood out to you in your time at the BLC and why?
One moment that stood out to me during my time at the BLC was during one Monday night dinner in January. I chose to sit next to a member whom I’d never met before, and I was unsure of what would come out of our conversation. Within minutes, this member and I were sharing stories and realizing that we had a lot more in common than anticipated. This individual turned out to be one of the most kindhearted people I’d get to know and made that dinner unforgettably meaningful to me.
4) Has your experience at the BLC impacted the way you understand HIV/AIDS and/or the people living with it?
Absolutely. As a nursing student at Boston College, I have learned the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of HIV/AIDS. However, I have come to realize that I could not have fully understood the true complexity of living with the virus if I hadn’t chosen to volunteer at the BLC. Volunteering at the BLC has impacted the way I understand HIV/AIDS because it has given me the opportunity to see how the stigma of HIV/AIDS affects people in my community every day.
5) If you could describe your BLC experience in one word, what would it be and why?
Rewarding. I am so grateful to have been placed at the BLC for my PULSE service requirement. Volunteering at the BLC has been such a worthwhile experience in regards to learning about HIV/AIDs and getting to know such remarkable individuals that I may not have otherwise crossed paths with. The BLC is a truly special place for the members, staff, and volunteers. It is a beacon of hope, joy, and camaraderie, and I am privileged to be a part of it!