St. John’s devotes an entire week to education about poverty in March. We collect money for our sister school in Kenya and encourage providing service to those in need. However, for the Brothers of the Christian Schools, aid to the poor is a way of life.
First founded by St. John Baptist de La Salle, the Brothers of the Christian Schools began by educating underprivileged children in France. Since then, Lasallian schools have popped up around the world, trying to continue La Salle’s vision.
For the Brothers at St. John’s, service to the poor is not limited to one week. Brother Mark organizes the Lasallian Youth program at SJC. This group of students goes to the San Miguel School weekly to tutor. During Poverty Education Week, they work in soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers, and child daycare.
Brother Mark said, “It is very important for the students of St. John’s to understand what poverty is and where it exists. Knowing this, students are able to see how they can not just ease the burden of those afflicted by poverty, but work to end the causes that lead people to live in poverty.”
Brother Paul has also dedicated a significant amount of time to service for the poor. As he discussed at the kickoff assembly on Monday, he spent seven years working at a San Miguel school in San Francisco before becoming a brother. He emphasized in his speech the importance of connecting with people and not thinking about them as a statistic. He also organized a Catholic after-school program in the South Bronx for three years.
He said, “After years of thinking about becoming a Brother, I finally realized that I wouldn’t know if this was the life God was calling me to until I entered out of my comfort zone and took a leap of faith.”