Young volunteers experienced life-changing moments on a service trip to the Philippines. For seven years, Brother Dan Fenton of the District of San Francisco has taken volunteers on month-long trips to a youth center called Bahay Pag-asa or “House of Hope.” It provides a safe, positive, educational environment for youth who are in trouble with the law. The center opened in 2001 with the support of the District of San Francisco and under the supervision of the Brothers of the Christian Schools at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City.
The volunteers work from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. with prayer, teaching, manual labor, and recreation-a routine that fosters an attachment between the volunteers and residents. They planted rice, cassava and sweet potato together. Volunteers also went to court hearings and visited homes with dirt floors and no running water.
These trips prove to be both teaching and learning experiences, which deeply move the volunteers and lead them to ask tough questions. It amazes them to realize that many of the young men in the center who are accused of illegal activity are polite, interested in learning, and have potential to improve themselves. The volunteers cannot help but notice the vast number of people in the area who live in poverty. They struggle with the knowledge that they are blessed, while others live in these impoverished conditions.
Check out the next issue of De La Salle Today and read about how Bahay Pag-asa brings hope to the youth on whom society has given up and how Lasallian students from the U.S. are helping to make a difference in their lives.
Bahay Pag-asa is in great need of support for their educational endowment and operational costs. Donations may be sent to Brother Arian Lopez, FSC, c/o University of St. La Salle, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod City, 6100, Philippines, or De La Salle Institute, P.O. Box 3720, Napa, CA 94558-9708.