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A Jesuit College Preparatory Experience

News Detail

Summer Service Trips Expand Hearts and Minds of Ramblers

Loyola Academy summer service and immersion trips provide real-life, community-based learning experiences for students in the United States and abroad. Through the pillars of service, community, reflection and simplicity, these programs are meant to be a catalyst for students to work for greater justice in the world.
Rising senior Francesca Hill ’20 participated in the Kino Border Initiative trip, which offers students the opportunity to spend a week at the Arizona/Mexico border and learn about the reality of migration from multiple perspectives. “This trip has given me the opportunity to take what I’ve seen in the news and experience it in real life,” she says. “This trip is really one of a kind and an experience I’ll never forget.”

Reference Librarian Ms. Elizabeth Kaiser chaperoned the service trip to L’Arche in Clinton, Iowa. L’Arche communities are places where people with and without developmental disabilities share life together in communities of faith. “It was great to see the students disconnect from their cell phones and really embrace the human connections -- with each other and with the wonderful women and men we met in the L'Arche community,” Kaiser reflects. “We talked a lot about how being away from their phones really enabled students to be fully present with one another and how it led to a level of mindfulness that can often be difficult to achieve in today's hyper-connected world.”

Below are highlights from the summer 2019 trips:

APPALACHIAN INSTITUTE, Wheeling, WV
June 9-15 and June 16-22
Students worked with various social service agencies in the Appalachian region including soup kitchens, disaster relief, children and elderly programs and community revitalization projects. Immersion trips with The Appalachian Institute focus on relationship building with Appalachian communities, authentic learning about the challenges and beauty of the region, reflection based on Jesuit pedagogy, and action steps for continued connection after the immersion experience.

APPALACHIAN FOLKLIFE, Pipestem, WV
June 9-15
Rambler volunteers participated in community development projects including helping residents with simple home maintenance and repairs. Students experienced meaningful interactions with the people of West Virginia and cultural and educational activities relating to Appalachia.

CINCINNATI URBAN PLUNGE, Cincinnati, OH
June 9-14
Students built relationships with people in Cincinnati, OH, while doing a variety of work from serving at a soup kitchen to light home repair. Organized through Franciscans for the Poor, this trip was in partnership with a group from Saint Ignatius in Chicago.

DAYSTAR CENTER, Cairo, IL
June 16-22
Day Star Community Programs is a partner with Catholic Charities that works with people in need in Southern Illinois. The primary activities were painting and small repairs for senior citizens as well as assisting staff in organizing the food pantry and thrift shop at the Day Star Center. Cairo offered an opportunity for students to reflect on rural communities and the effects of economic change.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, Winona, MN
June 9-14 and July 28-Aug 2
Ramblers spent the week working with Habitat for Humanity, an international organization with a mission of providing simple, affordable homes to families in Winona and Fillmore counties. They worked primarily with the “A Brush With Kindness” program doing painting, landscaping and other simple maintenance improvements. Students also had the opportunity to explore the local cultural heritage and enjoy fellowship with persons with disabilities and elders.

JERUSALEM FARM, Kansas City, MO
July 28-Aug 3
Founded on the cornerstones of community, simplicity, prayer and service, Jerusalem Farm provides volunteers with a week-long service retreat experience in Kansas City, MO. Days were spent doing home repair in the local community with a focus on building relationships, prayer and living simply. This trip was in partnership with a group from Saint Ignatius in Chicago.

KINO BORDER INITIATIVE, Nogales, AZ
July 13-19
Students spent the week at the Arizona/Mexico border with the Kino Border Initiative, an organization that offers participants an opportunity to see the reality of migration from multiple perspectives. Ramblers reflected on the complexity of immigration policy and the essential human dignity of migrants.

L’ARCHE CLINTON, Clinton, IA
June 9-14
L’Arche Communities are places where people with and without developmental disabilities share life together in communities of faith. L’Arche Clinton in Eastern Iowa welcomed students to their community to serve, share, pray, and celebrate. Students engaged in community with residents, provided home maintenance, and reflected on the joys and importance of an inclusive community.

MARILLAC HOUSE, Chicago, IL
June 10-14 Marillac
House is a mission organization of the Daughters of Charity. Students worked primarily in the daycare facility and food pantry, but also assisted with other programs.

MILWAUKEE URBAN PLUNGE, Milwaukee, WI
June 9-14
Located in the center of multiple diverse communities, Casa Romero’s urban plunge experience gives volunteers the opportunity to work on various community service projects and build relationships with the local community. In particular, the week focused on immigration issues and provided opportunities for education, reflection and dialogue.

SAINT FRANCIS MISSIONS, Rosebud Reservation, SD
June 16-22
Loyola Academy partnered with the Jesuit St.Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation for this immersion trip. Students assisted in running the “Body, Mind, and Soul” camp, a weeklong religious education summer program for children ages 6-14. Students also participated in other community resource programs and learned about the Lakota culture.

SAINT PROCOPIUS/PILSEN PLUNGE, Chicago, IL
July 29-Aug 5
The Saint Procopius trip is an immersion experience in the predominantly Spanish speaking Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Volunteers assisted at food and clothing pantries at the beginning of the week, but the bulk of the experience was spent helping the parish prepare for its annual Kermes in honor of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos. Students and chaperones helped staff booths, prepare food and otherwise prepare for the big festival weekend. This trip was in partnership with a group from Saint Ignatius in Chicago.

TWIN CITIES URBAN PLUNGE, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
June 9-14
Students encountered the diverse humanity of those marginalized in an urban population. Collaborating with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, students served refugee and homeless populations, as well as families with persons with developmental disabilities. Students then reflected on the challenges of urban poverty, including education, hunger, housing, and inclusion.

WHITE ROSE CATHOLIC WORKER, La Plata, MO
June 9-14
Catholic Worker communities aim to “live in accordance with the justice and charity of Jesus Christ” through active love and the Works of Mercy. At White Rose, a functioning farm, students learned about sustainable farming and the way it can serve communities. They also served in diverse local agencies while living a life of community, hospitality, and intentional simplicity at White Rose.


To learn more about Summer Service and Immersion opportunities at Loyola Academy, click here.
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To form women and men for meaningful lives of leadership and service in imitation of Jesus Christ through a college preparatory education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.
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