A proud member of the Gonzaga class of 2011, Avriel Burlot was one of those students who somehow managed to dip her toe into the water of nearly every CCASL activity in her four years at Gonzaga. The impact of these programs helped shape her into the person she is today.
So what was it that drew Avriel to CCASL? And what kept her coming back? Avriel fondly remembers club fair her first week of freshman year, examining the CCASL tables and putting her name on every list. The ways in which she got involved varied, but one thing held true: she was interested and dedicated and wanted to experience as much as possible.
“I’ve always liked working with kids, so I knew Campus Kids was absolutely something I wanted to do. And then little by little I became more intrigued- an email from the staff, a friend bringing me to a meeting, a GUSR play, eventually I was hooked and had something CCASL related almost every day.” In four years, Avriel managed to participate in six programs and served as a Senior Advisor to a number of small groups of other students.
Reflecting back on her time at Gonzaga, and specifically the impact that CCASL made on her life, Avriel talked about the experiences that CCASL brought her and the doors that were opened through her service. She explains that, “CCASL was really a guiding force in my decision making process, for what I wanted to do after graduation, and it led me right where I was supposed to go.” Avriel spent two years volunteering in the Dominican Republic with Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH), an organization that cares for orphaned and abandoned children in Latin America and the Caribbean. While in the Dominican, she worked as a Communication Officer, a Project Manager, and a Pediatric Cancer Program Manager. Avriel’s home was the same as that of the children in the program, so she was with them through everything. When her two years were up, she wasn’t ready to be done and so she moved to Haiti to train a local man to become a Communication Officer for NPH. After Haiti, she moved back to Tacoma to work as the Community Preparedness Outreach Coordinator at the Red Cross. Avriel just accepted a position with NPH as their International Volunteer Coordinator and will be moving to the Domincan Republic to coordinate volunteers in nine countries.
Avriel remembers being accepted into NPH, after applying for a multitude of volunteer organizations. She says that “I got the same exciting feeling that I got when I was first introduced to Gonzaga and then CCASL.” When reflecting on what she learned at CCASL and how it prepared her for life after Gonzaga, Avriel says that there are daily moments when she is dong a simple task and she remembers doing it at CCASL. She enjoys those moments, and also recognizes the experience that CCASL offered her. Avriel says that she “learned how to plan events, concerts, fundraisers and service trips through CCASL. I learned how to write about my passion for service during my years at CCASL. I use lessons learned in CCASL all the time in my daily, personal and professional life.”
Gonzaga and CCASL have been, and continue to be, lucky enough to be surrounded by students similar to Avriel; students that give their heart and soul to the work that they all do. Avriel’s advice for current students? Don’t be afraid to try new things, and remember that we learn the most when we step outside of our comfort zone. She also suggests that students live in the present, celebrate the good times and learn from the difficult ones. Avriel is an embodiment of CCASL’s mission of developing students with an ethic of service and lifelong thirst for social justice. She continues to make a difference in the lives she touches and CCASL is proud to call her an alum.
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