I am fortunate to have two loving parents who have raised me to be devoted to God. Though I experience ups and down in my faith, I remain devoted to a life in service to God.

I attend LaSalle Institute in Troy. LaSalle's reputation, education standards and sports teams are well-known, but many are unaware of the school's commitment to service. I dove right into the service activities when I started at LaSalle.

Ted Deeb, the campus minister, moderates the Lasallian Youth, a group dedicated to service in the spirit of the school's founder, St. Jean Baptist de La Salle. I began my volunteer work visiting the Van Rensselaer Manor, a local nursing home. Twice a week, a group enjoyed the company of the elderly residents.

Due to my academic commitments in my junior year, I switched to another service opportunity: youth mentoring at St. Colman's Home in Watervliet, managed by the Sisters of the Presentation.

When I first visited the orphanage, the sisters were extraordinarily kind and welcomed the Lasallian group.

The children at St. Colman's transformed me from a relatively shy person to a young man with responsibility to lead by example. We help with homework and, when time allows, play games.

I feel a strong connection to the various individuals I spend time with and I look forward to every Monday -- the day most kids dread going to school!

As a member of the Lasallian Youth, I belong to a great group of students who volunteer their time to mentor the youth at the group home. My faith has grown; I have developed a better sense of how grateful I should be in every aspect of my life.

Spending time with those at the St. Colman's is as much fun for me as it is for the children. Leading by example has influenced one of my closest friends to accompany us. The memories I have from the visits will remain with me long after I graduate from LaSalle.

God led me to this work, and for that, I am truly thankful.

(Brendan is a junior at LaSalle.)