International Service Immersion Trips
Kino Border Initiative and El Salvador
Dates: May/June, 2019
Become part of an immersion experience that merges the complexities of the immigration situation on the U.S. / Mexico border along with the experience of poverty in El Salvador. We will partner with the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), which is a collaborative, binational apostolic effort that engages in Catholic education and faith formation, socio-pastoral outreach, research, and advocacy on both sides of the border in Ambos/Nogales. Strengthened by a Catholic faith that welcomes strangers, KBI supports the ministry of U.S. and Mexican communities who welcome the undocumented and care for them as brothers and sisters. We will also partner with Crispaz, an organization that helps immerse you in the cultures of both Mexico and El Salvador. You'll also meet Sr. Peggy O'Neill at the Center for Art and Peace in Suchitoto, who is a long time resident of El Salvador dating back to the Civil War atrocities that cost both 6 Jesuits and their companions as well as, Archbishop Oscar Romero their lives.
This immersion trip is intended to humanize the immigration issue and to recognize its complexity, while emphasizing accompaniment of people on their journey. The majority of our time on the border will be spent in the aid center for deported migrants in Mexico, where participants serve food and have the chance to speak with recently deported migrants. You will also have time to hike in the desert, witness the criminal prosecution of immigrants in Tucson and learn more about the immigration system. There is an expectation that groups who visit KBI commit to implementing follow-up activities at their schools upon their return. In El Salvador, we'll visit the University of Central America (UCA) where the Jesuits were murdered, the Center for Art and Peace and hear the stories of many residents who will detail their experience of war-torn and impoverished El Salvador. Gang violence will also be an explored topic.
This immersion experience is designed to foster solidarity among those who are affected by the consequences of U.S. and Mexican migration and border policies. And Spanish language ability is an asset on this trip as you will spend a lot of time engaging recent deportees.
For more information, see: www.
Summer Camp for At-Risk Children in Poland
Tentative Dates: Summer 2019
Become part of a 3 week intensive immersion with at-risk children in the hills of Southern Poland. We will be partnering with “Dzielo Pomocy Dzieciom”, a privately run orphanage that hosts a huge summer camp for orphans and foster children from all over Poland. There will be over 100 children at the camp from all ages, ranging from 2-14! They are broken up into small “families” which are led by both Polish and American volunteers who become “aunties” and “uncles” to these children, caring for them from the moment they wake to past bedtime.
Our team will be entering into the second half of their summer camp experience. You will be divided up into families and spend most of your time caring for the children in your group. You will be eating, sleeping, hiking, playing and living with these children 24/7 in a family that might not include another English speaker.
This immersion experience is our most intense one due to the difficult language barrier, tight quarters, long hours and endless energy it requires. To succeed on this trip YOU MUST LOVE KIDS! However, this is also the trip we get the most people wanting to return on, because these children will capture your heart! Get ready to fall in love!
Mustard Seed in Jamaica
Dates: June 2019
Spend one week in a home for disabled children with Mustard Seed Communities (MSC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for the most vulnerable populations in society. MSC began in 1978 as a home for children with disabilities on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, and has expanded to Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. The majority of programs are dedicated to the residential care of children and adults with a range of developmental and physical disabilities who have been abandoned by their families because of the level of care they require. The vision for each apostolate is to create a loving and caring environment to aid in the physical, mental, and spiritual development of more than 600 residents worldwide.
Our team will be working in a home called “Blessed Assurance” on the outskirts of Montego Bay. The day will be divided between living, loving and working with the children in this home and doing minor work projects on the grounds of Blessed Assurance. The children will range from ages 3-15 and have a variety of disabilities, from autism to cerebral palsy to downs syndrome to a variety of other afflictions. Mustard Seed is a faith-based organization and so there will be a lot of time dedicated to praying and singing with the children as well.
This immersion experience is designed to challenge our students to go beyond their comfort zones. Many of the children we will be working with have severe disabilities and are wheelchair bound. But don’t underestimate the bonds you can build with them during this experience!
For more information about Mustard Seed, see: www.mustardseed.com