Laura De Boisblanc has always been aware of racial inequity in our society, but when her sons were young, that awareness began to have a greater impact on her life. She was troubled by the advantages her children, as white males, would have over persons of color, particularly girls. Laura was a trailblazer of sorts herself, starting a career in information technology, a field not typically thought of for a woman when she set out 40+ years ago.
Laura, an IVC service corps member with the New York region, has volunteered for the past five years at Cathedral High School (CHS) that, for 115 years, has been dedicated to educating and empowering girls from primarily materially poor families. Most of the students are Latina or Black. “I started out researching cultural events and programs for the girls to attend. Over the years, I’ve started a book club, a writing club, and a knitting club. Even though the girls can’t always attend, these clubs help them find ways to express and calm themselves in the midst of often chaotic lives.”
Three years ago, Laura, along with two other IVC members, Karen Lembo and Lorraine Langdon, started a Graduate Support Program at CHS. CHS alumni welcome new graduates who come to their same college to help them acclimate. Laura shares, “As you can imagine, this program has been especially important during the pandemic with new students isolated and trying to navigate the obstacle course that is college.”
When asked about changes that have occurred for her during her years at CHS, Laura reflects, “I went into my service passionate about helping to level the playing field for the materially poor, and I wound up falling in love with the girls. It sounds trite, but it is so true: I get much more out of my ministry than I give. I’m happy to know I have broadened the lives and viewpoints of the girls, and they have done the same for me. The staff and students at CHS have deepened my Catholic faith in ways I never expected.”