Marian Alonso ’08, who studied psychology and completed a minor in music, learned the value of overcoming differences through her work with children. Alonso volunteered during her junior and senior years at the South Central Los Angeles Ministry Project (LAMP), which serves the Latino immigrant community in South Los Angeles. At first, she felt self-conscious working with people who are different from her, but things changed when she let go of her insecurities.
“I was sending mixed signals to the kids, because I felt uncomfortable, which in turn made them feel uncomfortable. However, as soon as I learned to play and be fun-loving, the kids warmed up to me and were happy to see me,” Alonso said.
Alonso was a teacher’s aide with LAMP’s Early Childhood Education Program. Her responsibilities ranged from coordinating art activities to facilitating reading groups and playing games with the kids.
“Volunteering connects me to something larger than myself, and helps me realize the role I play in the global community,” Alonso said.
In recognition of her contributions to the community, Alonso received a Riordan Community Service Award in April from The Riordan Foundation in Los Angeles. Between her work with LAMP and her involvement with Alternative Breaks and Sursum Corda, an LMU service organization, she volunteered more than 440 hours during the past two years.
“You make time for volunteering. It became a part of my busy schedule, like eating, sleeping and going to class,” Alonso said.
Each year, six LMU undergraduate students are awarded a Riordan Community Service Award for their outstanding contributions in community service. The Riordan Foundation was established by former Los Angeles Mayor and California Secretary for Education Richard J. Riordan. Its mission is to help provide all students, especially those in low-income communities, with access to a high-quality education.
Photo: Courtesy of the Center for Service and Action. Marian Alonso (left) receives the award from Becca Bunn, president of The Riordan Foundation.