It’s October 23rd, a seemingly normal afternoon, but the front desk at freshman residence hall, Sourin, is filled with excitement.  On the desk sits a freshly baked cake from a local bakery, a large bouquet of flowers, and a pink heart balloon. Smaller gifts like lip gloss, face masks, and nail polish are also displayed. There is a considerable amount of girls singing “Happy Birthday” followed shortly after by “Feliz Cumpleaños.”  It’s Leslie’s Birthday! Leslie is the desk receptionist in Sourin who works in the afternoons during the school week.

Leslie’s Birthday, Photo Credit: Caroline Scallion

Leslie has been working as a Saint Joseph’s University desk receptionist since 2015.  She began working the day shift as a way to insure that she was spending enough time with her children.  When her daughter and son were younger, Leslie wanted to be home to be able to see her children grow up, but also work simultaneously.  “I have worked here for almost five years and I love it. I feel that I would like to stay working here for many years in the future.”  

Leslie came to the United States when she was only 16, completely alone, from her home country of Honduras.  She was coming to live in the United States in order to be reunited with her son, who was already here. When asked about her life here in the United States, she said that her “life is much better here” and she would like to remain in the Philly area.  She loves engaging with the students and is very interested in knowing all of them. “My favorite part of working here in Sourin is getting to know all the students and talking with new people everyday,” said Leslie.  

Leslie with some residents, Photo Credit: Caroline Scallion

All the students living in Sourin know Leslie by her infectious smile, constant positive attitude, and her ability to learn the names of the majority of the students. “Leslie is so friendly and makes each person who walks into Sourin feel important and welcome everyday,” said second floor resident, Adriana Esposito.   

Leslie smiling, Photo Credit: Caroline Scallion

Considering she has worked here for a few years, Leslie knows students of all ages. Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors remember her distinctly because of her caring nature and her attempt to make personal and deep connections with each of the residents. Some current residents of Sourin were asked to describe her in a few words. Here are some of the responses:

“Always welcoming, relatable, and always in a good mood” – Lucia Nardelli

“Cute and tiny” – Emily Mooney

“[Leslie] is so sweet and cares about all of us” – Kim Meier

All of the responses went along the lines of “a total sweetheart, truly cares about all of us, so kind, always there for us, wants the best for us”. Obviously, the impact she has made on the residents has been so great despite only knowing her for a few short months. The difference a smiling face can make when you enter into your new home, especially freshman year, can make a huge difference; Leslie is Sourin’s ray of positivity for the students.

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