A Service Mindset

On January 9th, 2020, Brendan Dwyer ’14 VSB boarded a plane to Guatemala without a return flight planned. He left his Philadelphia job in finance to serve alongside the organization, The GOD’S CHILD Project- a non-profit aimed at uplifting impoverished children and families in Guatemala. He didn’t know it at the time, but he would spend the next 2 years navigating the non-profit through the pandemic as the charity’s National Director. 

Dwyer’s path to Guatemala began with his older sister, Caitlin Dwyer ’05 FCN, who went on a Villanova Campus Ministry trip to Guatemala in conjunction with the GOD’S CHILD Project in 2004. Just 4 years later, when Brendan was still in high school, his mom Marianne looked to Catlin’s experience with the non-profit and decided to organize and lead a service trip to Guatemala for her son and a local community youth group. Joining Brendan on the trip was his twin brother Michael '14 VSB, oldest sister Meghan '03 CLAS, two other sisters Mary and Anne, and nine more. 

Throughout high school and college, Dwyer returned to Guatemala for 2 weeks each summer to volunteer. Through building new homes, caring for malnourished children in the charity's Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Children, and facilitating food distribution, Dwyer’s passion for service grew.   

When he arrived at Villanova in 2010, Dwyer joined the Business without Borders club where he further explored how he could use his business skills to serve the global community. Founder of the GOD’S CHILD Project, Patrick Atkinson, even came to speak to the club (and larger Villanova Community) to share about the organization’s mission.  

After graduation, Dwyer was using his finance degree in a securities trading role when he felt the calling to return to Guatemala. So he left the firm, and boarded the plane to work full time for the GOD’S CHILD Project.  

Over these 2 years, he led a fully native Guatemalan staff, coordinated international volunteers and supported fundraising efforts. He made difficult decisions on how to keep the organization operating during Covid - all while ensuring the essential services they provided would continue to benefit local families. During this time, he drew on the business knowledge he gained at VSB including leadership and management skills. He reflects that classes like Management taught him the right way to be a leader and guide a team - which meant always finding time for people, making himself available, and adapting to a world in crisis and flux. 

He credits his broader Villanova education for cultivating in him a global mindset based on the core Augustinian values of truth, unity, and love. Dwyer reflects that the values instilled in him by his parents Marianne and Timothy ('75 VSB) Dwyer and deepened by Villanova propelled him towards service.  

Now, Dwyer is back in the US working in the financial services industry, but he has not left behind his service to the GOD’S CHILD Project. He serves the organization in a new capacity by generating volunteer interest, raising funds, and engaging the community around the organization's mission. He hopes to engage with current Villanovans to share the mission of the GOD’S CHILD Project and connect interested students to service opportunities.  

Brendan Dwyer ’14 VSB

Brendan Dwyer ’14 VSB

“Always act from a place of gratitude and empathy, and boldly pursue the things that set your heart on fire."