Servi Barrientos '15 Connects Soccer with Learning
As a public school student in Providence, RI, Servi Barrientos '15 was among the first wave of children to benefit from the services offered by Project GOAL (Greater Opportunity for Athletes to Learn). The nonprofit's mission-to provide a structured, nurturing after-school environment for underserved Rhode Island youth-was a perfect fit for the motivated, athletically talented 12-year-old who thrived on GOAL's academic tutoring and soccer clinics.
Barrientos came to the United States from Guatemala in 2002 at the age of three. His father and stepmother settled in Providence, where they live with his college-age brother; his mother still lives in Guatemala, along with his five other siblings (ages eight through 15).
Barrientos was the first Project GOAL student to graduate from a private high school, Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, RI, where he played varsity soccer and holds the record for most goals (52). His next move was to Auburndale and Lasell. "I love the small size of the College community, where everyone knows one another," he tells Leaves. "And ‘Connected Learning' was a big part of my decision to come here."
Connect he does, both on and off the soccer field.
A Communications major with a concentration in Sport Communication, Barrientos is the Spring 2015 director of Lasell College Radio. He produces live, play-by-play coverage of Laser games, does sideline reporting during competitions and, back in the control room, edits his work. "Anything I need to do to help expand the athletic program" he says, "I do."
Burke Hazard, Lasell's new head men's Soccer coach, calls the scrappy senior "a rare mix of tenacity and technical skill." Since the Soccer season's end, Hazard adds, "Servi continues to support the program by helping me in the recruiting process."
After graduation, the 5'11" midfielder plans to take his talents to his native Guatemala City for the summer, where he'll volunteer with Project GOAL teaching English classes and running soccer camps. "Having been born there, I feel obligated to give back to these kids," he says. "I was fortunate enough to have a father to guide me and see that I got an education. It's only right for me to do the same for others who start life with as little as I did."
"My goal," he adds, "is to provide them an opportunity to learn and to dream."