They approached then-Campus Ministry Director Fernando Moreno, who asked Chris North ’85, a recent graduate who had visited the orphanage, to accompany them. North met Julianne Barry ’88 — his future wife — on that trip, and soon after they began planning monthly trips. In two and a half years, they accompanied hundreds of LMU students and raised some $150,000 to expand the orphanage and improve the lives of the home’s children.
Today, about 15 De Colores immersion trips to Tijuana take place year-round. The Norths remain involved in this signature LMU service and immersion program through their nonprofit called Building a Miracle, which continues to raise funds and build homes. Students help with construction projects on everything from homes and classrooms to soccer fields and community centers.
Earlier this fall, students made their first trip of the year Sept. 9–11, leaving on Friday evening, crossing the border and working all day Saturday to lay the foundation for the San Eugenio chapel, being built in the El Florido neighborhood. On Sunday, they visited the kids of Hogar Infantil la Gloria, an orphanage and home for 40 children. The construction work is hard, yet satisfying. But it is the people, especially the children, about whom LMU students rave after returning to campus. “We tell the students, ‘You think you’re going there to build a house, a classroom or a chapel, but what you’re really doing is helping to build a community,’ ” says Marty Roers, campus minister and director of the program.