In this month’s “Ministry of the Month,” the Midwest District is featured. The ministry is La Salle Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Lasallian Volunteer is second-year LV Quaneesha Shields. Quaneesha is a graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

WHAT IS LA SALLE MIDDLE SCHOOL?

La Salle Middle School, formerly De La Salle Middle School, is a public charter school located in North St. Louis. La Salle is committed to transforming children and community through innovative education. La Salle Middle School works hard to educate the whole child. Students at La Salle are pushed to achieve excellence academically, nurture caring relationships, understand the need for service in the community and are shown the importance of respect for all.

HOW DID QUANEESHA BECOME A LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER?

A graduate of La Salle University, Quaneesha credits alumni of Lasallian Volunteers actively recruiting her during her education classes. She says, “I decided to become a Lasallian Volunteer because I have a passion for teaching and learning. I heard about the program through other LVs who came into my education classes and the program sounded like something that I was called to do.”

WHAT IS THE SERVICE THAT QUANEESHA PROVIDES?

Quaneesha is the fifth and sixth grade English Language Arts (ELA) and social studies lead teacher.

HOW DOES QUANEESHA TOUCH MINDS AND HEARTS AT LA SALLE MIDDLE SCHOOL?

Quaneesha has worked to form relationships with her students like all of the volunteers she serves with. She says, The most important thing that my students need from me on an everyday basis is the gift of patience and love. The students in my classroom face the most barriers toward success. Our school is 100 percent African American. There are a handful of students and families facing homelessness, and 100 percent of our students qualify for free-reduced lunch. Our school is also located in North St. Louis, where crime rates are high and more than half of our students have witnessed a family member or close friend get killed out on the streets. As a school community, we work to provide our students with the support that they need academically, emotionally, socially and physically on a daily basis.”

HOW HAS LIVING WITH THE DE LA SALLE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS IMPACTED QUANEESHA AS A LASALLIAN VOLUNTEER?

Quaneesha, like many of our volunteers who graduate from our colleges and universities, had met the Brothers during her classes or on campus at events. Her experience of living with them over the past two years has helped deepen her faith life. She says, “My involvement in community with the Brothers has taught me the importance of intentional community amongst one another. Community is the building block toward creating a caring bond with one another, especially during difficult times. Living with the Brothers has made my faith life grow tremendously and I love knowing that I have a support system to back me on a daily basis.”

WHAT DOES QUANEESHA HAVE TO SAY TO COLLEGE SENIORS ABOUT LASALLIAN VOLUNTEERS?

Quaneesha had this to say about a year of service after college, “I would say to give your ‘yes.’ It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! You have to experience the struggle to see the ending beauty. If you decide to dedicate at least a year of your life to volunteering, you will become a different person, one that you are proud of and one that shows growth in beautiful ways.”