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Tunapuna,Trinidad and Tobago -- Students and builders

“The university needs to impart to students a mentality of service: service to society,” said St. Josemaría in an interview. With this goal in mind, this past July, a group of high school and university students who take part in the formative activities of the Prelature in Trinidad constructed a house for a poor family.

A construction foreman from the locality of Tunapuna directed the work of the young men, ensuring the quality of the work. The family that benefited from their help was living in a wooden house in which two of the five family members had to sleep on the floor. The students, many of them from the University of the West Indies, found the work of mixing cement and laying bricks quite challenging. “It’s hard work. The first time I had to mix the cement, my muscles were sore for hours,” said Julius. Nevertheless, he added: “We have to learn to think about others for a change!”

“You Can Help” is a volunteer program for students and community groups that use their free time to help build homes for the most needy during their summer vacations. The project began in 2005 when seventy young students constructed a house in Gran Couva for a poor family with eight children. North Hall, a non-profit organization, launched the challenge.

Registered in San Agustin, Trinidad, the organization has as its goal to help the young men mature, encouraging them to make choices that will lead them to be responsible adults. North Hall offers students programs of human formation based on classes, conferences, excursions and sports, and courses of spiritual development. The program, following the teachings of St. Josemaría, seeks to contribute to the construction of a more just society imbued with greater solidarity.

Romana, No. 49, July-December 2009, p. 352-353.