Alberto Guerrero's ’03 experience as a Lasallian Volunteer inspired him to become a social worker. He now works at the Osborne Association, a program that seeks alternatives to incarceration.
Alberto Guerrero ’03, an elementary education major, went to La Salle Academy in Manhattan, so he was aware of the Lasallian Volunteer program, and it remained in the back of his mind throughout his time at the College. When he finished his student teaching experience and realized he didn’t want to teach in a New York City public school, the former Lasallian Collegian’s thoughts returned to that program.
Guerrero was a LV for two years at San Miguel Schools, Gary Comer Campus, which serves middle school students on Chicago’s west side. The school was only in its second year of existence, and the community wasn’t really established yet, but Guerrero thought it would be a good fit for him. He taught mostly math for sixth, seventh and eighth grades. He also started and coached the girls’ basketball team, and started the Saturday tutoring program.
After two years in Chicago, Guerrero became a full-time teacher at the school. He served on staff for an extra two years, before joining Brother Dennis Lee, FSC, the College’s former director of campus ministry and social action, in Kenya, where he taught English to ninth- and tenth-graders for four months.
There are so many different narratives all inspired by the same mission that was started centuries ago.
Upon returning home, Guerrero pursued his master’s in social work and became a therapist for 19 months at an outpatient mental health facility. He’s currently a court advocate at the Osborne Association, which is an alternative to incarceration program.
“I always debated between social work and education, but when I started teaching, I felt like I became a good math teacher, but students would always say ‘my parents are incarcerated,’ ‘when I walk home from school, I have drug dealers trying to recruit me to sell drugs, to join gangs.’ I eventually realized that even if I became the greatest teacher in the world, a lack of education is just one part of what’s holding so many of the students back,” he says. “So I decided to get involved in more of a psycho-social aspect of their lives.”
Still in touch with his students, Guerrero realized that he could actually make a difference in their lives.
“One of the most lasting impressions from my time is just how strong the Lasallian experience really is,” he says. “There are so many different narratives all inspired by the same mission that was started centuries ago. To work with these, in many ways, forgotten communities, I think there’s power in that.”