In this month’s Lasallian Volunteers “Ministry of the Month,” The District of Eastern North America is featured. The ministry is La Salle Academy in Philadelphia. The Lasallian Volunteer is first year volunteer, Nicholas Quinlan. Nick is a graduate of Lewis University, Class of 2016.

WHAT IS LA SALLE ACADEMY?

La Salle Academy of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an independent Catholic grade school conducted in the traditions of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the Sisters of Saint Joseph. In the tradition of these communities, La Salle Academy is dedicated to educating children in grades 3 through 8 whose potential is limited by financial, social, academic, or emotional challenges, and whose parents and guardians desire, but cannot afford, a Catholic education. Like many of our other San Miguel model schools, La Salle Academy has small class sizes, an extended day and year, and an emphasis is placed on literacy and getting students to grade level in reading and math.

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Nick with some of his mathematics students

WHAT SERVICE IS NICK DOING AT LA SALLE ACADEMY?

Nick is the physical education teacher for third through eighth grade at the Academy. He plans their curriculum, runs classes, and teaches skills. He also works as a teachers’ aid in the third grade, helping with the math assignments. In addition, Nick is a one-on-one tutor for an eighth-grade student for math. He is also involved after school in La Salle Academy’s Homework Club in Math and assists with the coaching of the basketball team.

HOW DID NICK BECOME A LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER?

Nick credits his time at Lewis for inspiring him to become a post-graduate volunteer. He was involved in the University Ministry program and grew in his passion for service.  Nick felt called to give back after gaining so much from his time at Lewis. He says, “I wanted to share the blessings I had received and live out my favorite scripture passage that I learned while I was an undergrad from Micah: ‘Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with God.’”

HOW DOES NICK TOUCH THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF THOSE ENTRUSTED TO HIS CARE?

Nick with students from La Salle Academy

Nick with students from La Salle Academy

Nick is affable and funny, perfect traits in working with middle school students. A lifelong lover of sports, he makes it his goal to create games and activities that all students will enjoy. He took the advice of his favorite bible quote and built up those relationships with students gradually. Nick articulates this by saying, “I felt welcomed right away by the handshakes and the ‘Welcome to La Salle Academy,’ from the students. As I have spent more time here, I have seen the students open up to me and talk to me about their days.”

HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE BROTHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS IMPACTED NICK?

Nick has been truly impacted in his faith journey. While he was at Lewis, he experienced Brothers of the Christian Schools on the campus in classes in the dining hall, and at sporting events on campus, he did not truly begin to pray until he became a member of the community at La Salle College High School, where he lives. He says, “Living with the Brothers of the Christian Schools has opened my eyes to my own faith. I have learned how to really pray. It is a totally different feeling to pray with them and share our faith together.”

Nick and a group of La Salle Academy students

Nick and a group of La Salle Academy students

WHAT DOES NICK WANT TO SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS ABOUT THE LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER PROGRAM?

Nick articulates his love for the Lasallian volunteer program in the following way: “You are giving of yourself in a totally different way. You make a difference in other people’s life, but they make a difference in your life. I see myself continuing to promote the Lasallian Volunteers by spreading the word about this great program to everyone I encounter in my life. I will forever be grateful to the Lasallian Volunteer program and all that I have been given in my time of service.”