Alumnus Carries Assumption Mission to Ecuador
When they graduate, Assumption students have a number of possibilities open to them. Frank Bruno ’17, an English and mass communications major from Wethersfield, CT, has spent much of his time since graduation engaged in a year of service helping those in need in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
“I remember that week, I couldn’t help but admire the volunteers for their bravery in addition to the way in which they live, valuing simplicity, community, relationship, and faith,” reflected Bruno. “I will always give thanks to God for putting me on that trip to Ecuador junior year.”
There is no typical day for Bruno; each one is challenging and fulfilling in a different way. Bruno spends much of his time in the poverty-stricken neighborhood of Monte Sinai. As a volunteer at an afterschool program, he tutors neighborhood children in English and helps them with their homework. Bruno also spends time in the homes of the families of Monte Sinai, listening to their life challenges but also learning from them.
“A hug or a smile from a child, seeing a kid’s face light up when they understand their homework, or someone telling me how much my presence here means to them are the small moments that I enjoy the most,” explained Bruno. “The people here continue to amaze me each day with their knowledge, wisdom, and advice, but also their faith and dependence on God in the midst of struggles. My day is filled with great experiences, like when I am sitting in someone’s home, and they have enough trust in me to become vulnerable and share their life story with me.”
While at Assumption, Bruno’s faith deepened through his work with Campus Ministry, and his passion to carry on the mission of the institution has only intensified since graduation. “Young people in the world like myself have an obligation to be an example for others in working toward the things we believe in and what’s important, doing the small things we can in making this world a better place,” he said.
This experience has inspired Bruno to switch his intended career path from sports journalism to working with high school or college students in a faith formation role, in particular Latino or Spanish-speaking students. “When I think about this year as a whole, I think about how I put so much trust in God in making this decision to leave the comforts of home, my friends, and family for a year,” Bruno shared. “I think that this experience has also taught me to focus on doing something I love, rather than only looking at a career from the financial standpoint.”
Bruno was first introduced to the idea of service during his junior year in 2016 when he participated in a weeklong SEND service immersion trip to Monte Sinai through a Rostro de Cristo retreat – the exact place he has spent nearly a year as a volunteer. It was during this SEND trip that Bruno, after witnessing the value of service firsthand, seriously began to consider getting involved in a service project after graduation.