Lasallian Volunteer Finds His Vocation
Paul Avvento ’07 served as a Lasallian Volunteer for two years. He's now a teacher and the director of student activities at De Marillac Academy, while also pursuing his master's through the Lasallian Fellowship Program.
A secondary education major with a concentration in history, Paul Avvento ’07 became interested in the Lasallian Volunteer program while in Rome at the Young Lasallian Symposium in 2006. Many of the other representatives had been volunteers already, and their enthusiasm for the program rubbed off on him.
The former student body president had been heavily involved with campus ministry and social action, and even spent a summer living and working at Resurrection School in Harlem, a Christian Brothers school, doing summer school test prep for the students.
“So I got to see what it was like to live in communities and work in a school designed for kids who need special attention and special focus, which I really enjoyed doing,” he says.
Avvento began his LV service at De Marillac Academy in San Francisco, which serves children from low-income and underserved households in the Tenderloin area. During his first year, he taught seventh- and eighth-grade physical education, and seventh-grade religion, and was a language arts teaching assistant for seventh-graders.
He chose to volunteer a second year and was scheduled to spend more of his time in the development office assisting the school’s fundraising efforts, but a week into the year, he was asked to fill a recently vacated spot and assume teaching responsibilities for middle school religion and eighth-grade social studies.
I didn’t think it was possible to love a job as much as I do, and I strongly believe it’s because it’s a vocation for me.
“This was a great opportunity for me to continue to grow in the craft of teaching,” he says. Avvento was offered a permanent position at the end of his second year and is now in his fifth year at De Marillac Academy. He serves as director of student activities and teaches eighth-grade social studies and religion. As director, he oversees all clubs and elective classes, coordinates sports programs, and supervises the volunteers.
He also entered into the Lasallian Fellowship Program at St. Mary’s College of California, where he received his administrative credential and master’s in educational leadership. The program provides tuition remission for students who commit to teach in a Lasallian school for three years.
“I didn’t think it was possible to love a job as much as I do, and I strongly believe it’s because it’s a vocation for me at this point,” Avvento says. “Right now, I am firmly committed to doing whatever I can to help the families that we serve and to help those students reach the high potential that all of them have, even though for some of them, it’s tough to see it.”