Barcelona, Spain – At the close of the 2013-14 school year, 14 students and faculty from Manhattan College traveled to Barcelona, Spain, to help out their Lasallian Family with a new project for young people who have serious needs.  This two-week trip to Barcelona was the fourth international Lasallian “service-learning experience” run by the Manhattan College chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society for Educators.  The three previous trips were to Namibia, Africa; Palestine and Israel; and Istanbul, Turkey.

The “Barcelona 14” Manhattan Collge group was invited to Barcelona to help Jordi and Alicia Jorver with a major project for their organization Fundacio Comtal, developed to meet the needs and challenges of  young people who are on the margins of society.

Fundacio Comtal… is an important part of the Lasallian educational network in Barcelona,” said Br. Raymond Meagher, FSC, Manhattan College professor, and service trip leader. “This group of dedicated individuals has created and developed bold, innovative, and significant programs to respond to the current needs of the young people in their city. They are now also responding to a new reality, in which some young people and their families are struggling with more serious social, emotional, and economic problems than ever before.”

Hosted by Brother Miguel Angel and Joaquin Sanchez-Rex, in Residencia Bonanova, a center for young people who are studying in different Universities in Barcelona, the “Barcelona 14” traveled two hours round trip each day to help renovate what would become an independent-living facility for Fundacio Comtal. The former Brothers community house, in Barceloneta, had not been used for the past eight years, but was to open on July 1, 2014. Completing a seven day project in just four days, the “Barcelona 14” put in well over 300 hours of physically demanding work.

“We cleaned, sandpapered, primed, painted, and mopped-up spilled paint in six bedrooms and bathrooms, four large group rooms, and a long, long corridor,” said Meagher.  “The project manager, Roberto, was amazed at how hard our students worked.  He praised them highly… and told us how happy he was with their positive attitude and great work habits.”

Meagher also described the feelings of accomplishment felt by “Barcelona 14.”

“We feel a great deal of pride and joy within us, knowing that we were part of the new reality of the Lasallian family of Barcelona, Spain.  We put a lot of time and effort into preparing a place to help young men, who are in difficult situations that need such a program for support in their social and emotional development toward becoming independent adults.  We are all proud to be part of this innovative program to help meet the challenges and needs of the young people of Barcelona.”

The group rounded out there experience by exploring the historic Spanish city, while visiting other Lasallian schools and ministries, and engaging in the many opportunities for Lasallian association.

For more details and reflections see the following:

Reflection from Br. Raymond Meagher, FSC >

Reflection by Rachel Tomashosky, Service Participant >

Reflection by Katherine Cooney, Service Participant >