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Riverdale, NY – For five full days, the Lasallian Youth of the District of Eastern North America gathered at Manhattan College in the Bronx to grow spiritually and in association.

Over 120 Lasallian students and their moderators found themselves called to be the light in this world through God’s love, by recognizing the challenges that face the future of not only the worldwide Christian community, but the entire global family, and how to be agents of change.Starting their first full day, students were welcomed at the United Nations on the Eastside of Manhattan on Monday.

lysa-sr-suzannaAfter tours of the UN, the Youth Assembly was invited by the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, represented by Fr. Roger Landry, to learn more about the Church’s role in helping shape global policy to help the marginalized and poor throughout our world. Sr. Suzanna, of Water Spirit, taught students that clean water is intrinsically tied to social justice. Sister urged students to become more ecologically responsible and to take up environmental initiatives to save our planet, which in turn helps the economically poor in our global family. Upon their return to Manhattan College’s campus, Ms. Lois Harr of Campus Ministry and Social Action educated the Assembly on Fair Trade programs, and how even small changes in our consumer habits using these programs can help raise children and families out of poverty, and can give opportunities for education and sustainability.

Lasallian service highlighted the Assembly on Tuesday. Thanks to Campus Ministry and Social Action at Manhattan College, students fanned out throughout the Bronx, volunteering in different programs ranging from soup kitchens and shelters, to alternative daycares and special education programming.

Later, students would have an opportunity to share in their service groups, unpacking the day’s events, bring prayer and understanding to the work performed earlier.

After a cultural day on Wednesday, the Assembly came together on Thursday. From the moment he introduced himself, John Donahue-Grossman, the main presenter, had the attention of the Youth Assembly.

His boundless energy and relatable personality open students minds to the preconceived notions they had about him, and those around them. Throughout the day, Donahue-Grossman created activities and scenarios, while coupled with prayer, that pushed students to think critically and compassionately.