In this month’s Lasallian Volunteers “Ministry of the Month,” the District of Eastern North America is featured with La Salle Academy in New York City. The Lasallian Volunteers serving at La Salle Academy are Brady Fehringer and David Cambra Morera. Brady is a graduate of Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas. David is a graduate of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain.
WHAT IS LA SALLE ACADEMY?
La Salle Academy is a unique and progressive preparatory high school with a rich history. La Salle is the third oldest Catholic high school in New York City, providing educational, spiritual and athletic opportunities to young men for 170 years. La Salle is accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. The mission of La Salle Academy, a rigorous college-preparatory high school, is to educate students of diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds with special outreach to those most in need. The school provides a nurturing environment, which fosters spiritual, moral, intellectual, emotional and physical growth in the Roman Catholic tradition and the Lasallian spirit, as embodied St. John Baptist de La Salle.
HOW DID BRADY AND DAVID BECOME LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?
Each volunteer has a unique path to the LV program. While Brady did not attend a Lasallian college or university, his heart has always called him to a year of service. He says, “I have always enjoyed serving others. From leading international mission trips to visiting the elderly in the nursing home, serving others is something that is a part of who I am. My cousins were LVs a few years ago, and they really enjoyed their years of service. I decided to become an LV because I saw an opportunity to be a positive influence on young people’s lives and be able to help them reach their full potential.” David is from Barcelona, Spain, and lives in an intentional Lasallian community. He says of joining Lasallian Volunteers, “I am part of a Lasallian community in Barcelona, and last year I had the opportunity to volunteer with La Salle in Guatemala. I started my adventure as a volunteer. One friend spoke to me about this volunteer program (LV), and I decided that this was a great opportunity for me to know a new culture, learn English, help kids, and live in community. I thought that this opportunity was amazing, and I couldn’t say no.”
WHAT SERVICE DO DAVID AND BRADY PROVIDE AT LA SALLE ACADEMY?
David serves in the academic support center. He is also a part-time campus minister and a Spanish tutor. In addition to his academic services, David helps with the soccer team and other extra-curricular activities. Brady also serves in the academic support center and is a part-time campus minister. He describes the work that he and David are doing by saying, “Within academic support, we foster a space where students can come to catch up on schoolwork, as well as receive help with their essays and college prep. Additionally, we work alongside the director of campus ministry conducting class retreats and organizing service opportunities for the student body to get involved in outside of school.”
HOW DO BRADY AND DAVID TOUCH THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF THOSE ENTRUSTED TO THEIR CARE?
Both volunteers work in student support at La Salle. This requires flexibility and readiness to jump in and help with anything they are asked to do. his service when he says, “In my job my students don’t need anything special from me. In my opinion, they only need that I am present when they need help. Many days I’ll be in my classroom and stay in my chair and students come and go in their free periods, and I only say hello and goodbye. But sometimes the students come to me and tell me some problem that they have in the school or in their personal lives. This is the moment that I can help them and this is the moment that the students really need my support and my experience for choosing the right way.” Brady shared that he believes that he provides mentoring as well when he says, “I have realized in the past few months that the most important thing I can be for the students I interact with is a voice of reason, a mentor, and helping hand to support them in achieving their goals.”
HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE BROTHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS IMPACTED DAVID AND BRADY?
Brady’s first time encountering the Brothers was living in community with them, and he has been positively impacted by his experience with his community members. He says, “My time with the Brothers has helped me to realize how important it is to appreciate other people’s worldviews. The Brothers are focused solely on continuing the mission of their Founder, and this has allowed them to be so inclusive and accepting of everyone they encounter in the process. This mentality has allowed me to get outside of my comfort zone and see people in a different way allowing for personal growth.” David’s experience of living in community in Spain prepared him to live in community in New York City. He says, “This is an amazing experience because all of them have a big heart and always want to share their experience with all. In my opinion, the best things that Brothers have, are that they always share all that they have, does not matter with who or the time that they need to spend with other people, they always have the door open for all who need help. They are a cheerful people who transmit good feelings and help you to become a better person.”
WHAT DOES THE 2017-2018 COHORT WANT TO SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS ABOUT LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?
Each volunteer strongly encourages college seniors to do a volunteer year. Brady says, “Be open to a year of service, because if you are it will allow you to discover more about yourself while being able to serve others and impact their lives in a positive way.
David says, “The most important thing for me is that these volunteers are a big family. A family who helps you and gives the opportunity to become a better person. I have been able to meet really great people who decide to share their life with others and this is amazing. In my year of service, I have been able to meet great Brothers who will help me and give me the opportunity to share my life with others, and I could meet great volunteers who have the same feelings as I do, and we can share experiences together.”