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Ramblers Put Love into Action on Summer Service Trips

Loyola Academy's summer service and immersion trips have long been a hallmark of the Rambler experience. Providing real-life, community-based learning for students, summer service trips open the hearts and minds of Loyola's rising seniors. Through the pillars of service, community, reflection and simplicity, the service immersion program is meant to be a catalyst for students to work for greater justice in the world. These five-to-seven-day trips enable students to encounter new perspectives and grow in an awareness of the gifts they have to offer others.
"We were so happy to have our Summer Service program back to domestic overnight travel this year," said Summer Service Coordinator John Miller '15. "This program is so special—I know firsthand as I was able to attend when I was a student here. Now, as the summer service coordinator I was excited for our students to have this wonderful opportunity to grow in community, prayer, service and simple living with others in areas outside their own."

Special Events Coordinator Clarice Swanson '14 served as chaperon on a trip to the L'Arche Community in Clinton, Iowa. L'Arche communities are places where people with and without developmental disabilities share life together in communities of faith. "I've watched summer service bring students outside of their comfort zones while offering them the opportunity to have a positive impact on the world," she reflects. "I was amazed at how wholeheartedly our students took to building relationships with those who are differently-abled than themselves."

Senior Benjamin Howland, who attended Habitat for Humanity in Winona, Minnesota, says the trip was of one of the best experiences during his time at Loyola. "The trip truly captivated the Jesuit mission of service to communities in need, and daily reflections helped me apply my faith to the trip," he recalls.  "At the same time, I became very close to students I would otherwise never encounter and shared an unforgettable experience with them. I am so thankful for this program and what it stands for."

Below are highlights from the summer 2022 trips:

Appalachian Folklife | Pipestream, WV
May 29-June 3 and June 5-10
Volunteers participated in community development projects such as helping residents with maintenance work and simple home repairs. Students had meaningful interactions with the people of West Virginia and a number of cultural and educational activities relating to Appalachia.

DayStar Center | Cairo, IL
May 29- June 3
Daystar Community Programs, a partner of Catholic Charities, provides services to those in need in Southern Illinois including simple home repair and maintenance. Students had the opportunity to assist at the Daystar Center food pantry and thrift store, seeing firsthand the effects of economic change on rural communities.

Catholic Charities | Des Plaines, IL
May 31- June 3
Students spent time working in the clothing room, food pantry, and community garden with the Catholic Charities staff and master gardener.

Casa Romero Urban Plunge | Milwaukee, WI
June 5-10
Located in the center of multiple diverse communities, Casa Romero’s Urban Plunge experience gave Ramblers the opportunity to work on various community service projects and build relationships with the local community. In particular, this week focused on immigration issues and provided an opportunity for education, reflection and dialogue.

Habitat for Humanity | Winona, MN
June 5-10
June 12-17
June 19-24
Located among the beautiful bluffs along the Mississippi River, Winona's Habitat for Humanity offered student volunteers a chance to literally build community in a new environment. Habitat provides simple, affordable homes to families in Winona and Fillmore counties. Volunteers worked primarily with a program called "A Brush With Kindness," where they completed painting, landscaping and other simple maintenance projects. Students also had the opportunity to explore the local cultural heritage and enjoy fellowship with persons with disabilities and elders.

L'Arche Clinton | Clinton, Iowa
June 5-10
L'Arche communities are places where people with and without 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 had the opportunity to build a relationship, engage in community activities with residents, provide home maintenance, and reflect on the joys and importance of inclusive community.

St. Francis Mission (Body & Soul Camp) | Saint Francis, SD
June 12-17
Participants on this trip assisted in running the "Body, Mind, and Soul" camp, a weeklong religious education summer program for children ages 6-14. This program included Catholic Vacation Bible School curriculum, Lakota teachings and stories, and Mass. Participants also had the opportunity to serve in other community resource programs and learn about Lakota culture. Loyola Academy partnered with the Jesuit St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation.

Tau House/ Cincinnati Urban Plunge | Cincinnati, OH
June 19-24
Rambler volunteers served at various agencies including soup kitchens and programs that provide light home repair for elders. Evening reflections encouraged students to make connections to their own urban experience and expound their perspective on its challenges. Loyola Academy partnered with Franciscans for the Poor in Cincinnati to provide participants with a broad experience of urban life there.

Beacon Place | Waukegan, IL
June 20-23
Each summer, children go to Beacon Place to enjoy a nutritious meal and then stay for an afternoon of traditional day camp activities, including games, crafts, sports, computers, music and more. Fresh air and outdoor exercise are an important part of a healthy life for kids, and Beacon Place provides a safe place to play and just be a kid. Rambler volunteers spent time on site working in a tutoring program each morning and lunch program in the afternoon.

Kino Border Initiative | Nogales, AZ
July 9-15
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. This trip included a visit to the women’s shelter, service in the comedor (soup kitchen), Mass and conversation with ranchers in rural Arizona, and a visit to a Tucson immigration court. Students reflected on the complexity of immigration policy and the essential human dignity of migrants.

Jerusalem Farm | Kansas City, MO
July 17-22
Founded on the cornerstones of community, simplicity, prayer and service, Jerusalem Farm provided 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 College Prep in Chicago.

To learn more about Summer Service and Immersion opportunities at Loyola Academy, click here.

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