Campus Ministry offers a variety of service immersion experiences. These are powerful opportunities where students, guided by adult chaperones, immerse themselves in a specific culture for an extended period of time. Each trip includes service work, community building, and individual reflection. Current service immersion trip examples include:

Working Boys Center – Quito, Ecuador

What is the Working Boys Center?

The Working Boys’ Center is a Jesuit ministry located in Quito, Ecuador. The Center was founded in 1964 to address the educational needs of boys working on the streets of Quito shining shoes. Soon afterward, the program was expanded to include the entire family and the Working Boys’ Center was born. Since its inception, the Center’s overarching objective has been to eliminate poverty among working children and their families. To date, over 6,000 families or around 30,000 people have left poverty forever as a result of the Center’s programs.

The Working Boys’ Center promotes the practice of ten moral values: loyalty, personal development, family, religion, education, economy, work, recreation, health, and housing. Their programs include a comprehensive education program, which begins with nursery school and ends with adult continuing education courses, and a healthcare initiative program that provides medical and dental care to Quito families. The Center’s kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily to 2,000 people. Lastly, the Center also assists Ecuadorans in obtaining loans to start their own businesses.

Before working with the Working Boys Center:

60.3% of people lived in a single-room dwelling
73% of people had access to a sewer system
12% of people had telephone service
52.9% of people had seen a doctor for preventive purposes
40.5% of people had running water

After working with the Working Boys Center:

Only 2.9% of people lived in a single-room dwelling
More than 96% of beneficiaries had access to a sewer system
59.2% of people attained telephone service
More than 63.2% had seen a doctor for preventive purposes
94.7% of people had running water

What do McQuaid Jesuit students do?

The goal of a Jesuit education is to form “women and men with and for others.” In Ecuador, this goal is engaged by McQuaid Jesuit students by providing them with opportunities for being “with” and “for” the people they meet and serve. McQuaid Jesuit men spend a lot of time “with” the families and children who belong to the Center. This includes informal opportunities like competing in pick-up soccer games, engaging in spontaneous conversations, and observing the classroom experiences. It also includes a full day of visiting the homes of several Center families, trips to a local markets where families purchase food, clothing and other items of daily life. McQuaid Jesuit men spend a day learning one of the trades taught at the Center by shadowing one of the older students in his or her daily class. Our men also celebrate Mass together with students and their families at various Center liturgies.

In addition to being “with” the members of the Center, McQuaid Jesuit men are also “for” them. This includes assisting in the preparation and serving of a daily meal for boys and girls in the school. Our men also participate in a day-long “minga” or “work project” at the homes of families. This could include cleaning, building, painting, etc. Finally, our men also engage in small maintenance projects at the Center, itself.

In addition to the “mission goals” of the experience, our men also have the opportunity to learn more about Quito and the surrounding area. Participants spend a day in the city, sampling various cuisines, and touring historic sites. There are also opportunities available for sightseeing throughout the Quito metro area.

Finally, all participants participate in daily reading, reflection and prayer, both as a group and as individuals.

What are our living arrangements?

McQuaid Jesuit students who serve at the Working Boys’ Center live with other volunteers in the “Volunteer Center.” The residence houses year-long as well as short-term volunteers and their chaperones. Students live in traditional dorm rooms with three other classmates. Each room has four bunk beds, a bathroom and shower. The staff of the Volunteer Center provides food for breakfast and lunch, and they prepare dinners five nights a week. The staff also ensures potable water is available to all volunteers.

How do we prepare for the experience?

McQuaid Jesuit abides by the Center for Disease Control’s advisement that travelers to Ecuador receive vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, and Typhoid. Please do not make arrangements for these vaccines before our first orientation meeting in January. For more information on staying healthy while traveling abroad, click here.

Students will need a valid passport to travel to Ecuador. Students who do not have a passport should apply for one immediately.

While internet and phone access is available at the Center, students will not have access to their personal mobile devices. All communication will be made through the chaperones, and emergency contact information will be provided. In addition, chaperones will communicate daily to parents through email and other social media.

Students and parents attend monthly planning meetings and reflections, which will begin in January 2017. These are MANDATORY. Dates will be forthcoming.

For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please also visit www.c4wf.org.

Appalachia Institute – Wheeling, WV

What is the Appalachia Institute?

Appalachia is a 205,000 square mile region centering on the Appalachian Mountains from Southern New York to Northern Mississippi.  It includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states.  Almost half of the region’s population is rural, compared with 20% of the national population.  It is home to just about 25,000,000 people.

The Appalachian Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University is devoted to promoting understanding, service and social justice activities for and with the people of Appalachia.  The goal is to build healthier, stronger and more sustainable communities.  The Institute is rooted in Jesuit tradition and seeks to foster conversation and knowledge of topics that relate to the Appalachian region, including public health, environment, energy, culture and community development.

To implement its mission, the Appalachian Institute coordinates service, learning and immersion trips for high school and college groups around the country.

What do McQuaid Jesuit students do?

McQuaid Jesuit students and faculty supervisors travel to Wheeling, West Virginia to participate in the week long Direct Service Immersion Program. Based on the needs of the community served in and across West Virginia, groups are placed in a rural community to work on disaster relief efforts, home repair projects, soup kitchens, meal delivery programs, children and elderly programs, revitalization projects and other activities. The premise of the Appalachian Institute is about serving with communities, not for them. In order to implement that goal, educational and cultural components are incorporated into evening programs so that students can develop a relationship with communities they are living in and remember to work with them even after they have returned home.

There will also be a tour of Kayford Mountain, an actual mountaintop removal site, to learn about the broad and localized health and environmental impacts of this devastating extraction process. Students will learn both history and current issues surrounding West Virginia’s coal industry through museum visits, onsite tours and musical performances. Students will provide a variety of direct service with the Appalachian Institute’s partners including Grow OV and the Greater Wheeling Soup Kitchen. There will also be educational opportunities to visit sites of natural wonders and significant historical sites in the state. Our work with the Appalachian Institute’s partners is accompanied by regular reflection, drawing on scripture and Ignatian spirituality. There is also an educational component regarding Appalachia and its history and challenges.

What are our living arrangements?

Students live in simple bunkhouse-style quarters.  Meals are shared and students assist with food preparation. The cost of the trip covers most of the food; however, there will be some small additional expenditures by the students for at least one dinner and travel food during this weeklong immersion experience.

Students will not have access to personal electronic devices during the trip. Faculty leaders will maintain daily communication with parents via email and text messages.

How do we prepare for the experience?

Students will begin meeting as a group in February of the year of the trip. The purpose of these meetings will be for the students to form a sense of community as well as familiarize themselves with Appalachia. Special focus will be on the Wheeling, WV portion of Appalachia, with an emphasis on culture, history, and the challenges facing the resident population. The group will also examine Catholic social teaching and themes of social justice to provide an essential context for overall experience.

This trip is open to juniors and seniors at McQuaid Jesuit, with a minimum of 8 students and 2 faculty leaders.

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Urban Plunge – Rochester, NY

What is the Urban Plunge?

Urban Plunge is a weekend opportunity for juniors which takes place after midterm week (typically, the last weekend in January). This unique service immersion trip offers an opportunity to understand the experience of the marginalized in the City of Rochester. The weekend is sponsored and run by the Sisters of St. Joseph Volunteer Corp.

What do McQuaid Jesuit students do?

Typically, the high school volunteers will go to male and female homeless shelters in the City.  In the past, students have spent time at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, a shelter for men run by the Rochester Catholic Workers on South Avenue.  Likewise, student volunteers will go to Bethany House, a shelter for women also run by Rochester Catholic Workers.  Students are drawn from a number of schools, including McQuaid Jesuit, Our Lady of Mercy, and Aquinas Institute.

The weekend begins prior to supper on the Friday night of the Urban Plunge Weekend at St. Boniface on Gregory Street.  The supper is followed by evening prayer and “fun and frolic.”  Saturday begins with breakfast and then morning prayer.  The balance of the day is spent at the shelters where students will prepare and serve food as well as connect with the residents of the shelters.  Late in the afternoon on Saturday, Mass is celebrated, followed by supper.  Supper is followed by prayer and reflection on the day, with students and supervisors sharing their thoughts and feelings on the day’s activities.  After prayer and reflection, there is down time until lights out at 11:00 p.m.  On Sunday following breakfast, there is an interactive presentation on Catholic social teachings followed by departure in late morning.

What are our living arrangements?

As mentioned above, supper is served on Friday and Saturday nights, breakfast is served on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  There will be lunch at the shelters on Saturday.  Students are welcome to bring snacks.  Friday and Saturday nights are spent at St. Boniface in bunk-style rooms.  The students should bring their own sheets, pillow case and towels.  St. Boniface provides blankets for everyone.  Students do not have access to personal electronic devices during the weekend activities.  Faculty leaders will maintain daily communication with parents via email and text messages.

How do we prepare for the experience?

Students participating in the Urban Plunge will meet as a group prior to their experience.  The meeting will sensitize students to the plight of the marginalized in Rochester and also look at Catholic social teaching and social justice as a framework for the weekend.

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Camp Koinonia – Italy Valley, NY

What is Camp Koinonia?

Camp Koinonia is nestled in Italy Valley, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. It is a place of exceptional beauty and natural ruggedness. Every direction offers a breathtaking view of God's handiwork. The rolling hills surrounding the valley create complete privacy from the outside world. Camp Koinonia is the perfect place for reflection on some of God's greatest creations - nature and family!

What do McQuaid Jesuit students do?

This service trip will be a combination of service work and a summer camp experience.  The days will be spent doing maintenance work for the camp: painting, roofing cabins, building a walkway for the chapel, etc.  The evening programming will include skits, reflection, prayer, and a bonfire.  We will also have free time for ball field activities and capture the flag type of games at night.

Camp Koinonia provides students with the opportunity to embody the mission of McQuaid Jesuit to be “men for and with others.” By enjoying a summer camp experience that is prayerful, productive, and a lot of fun, students are able to deepen friendships with fellow students. Additionally, it will fulfill middle school or freshman service theme requirements. Most importantly, students have an opportunity to serve God and live out the Gospel values.

What are our living arrangements?

Students live in simple bunkhouse-style cabins. Meals are shared and provided by Camp Koinonia staff. The cost of the trip covers food and lodging.

Students will not have access to personal electronic devices during the trip. Faculty leaders will maintain any necessary communication with parents via email and text messages.

How do we prepare for the experience?

Students submit an application and medical release form in early spring. Students are provided with a detailed packing list and will participate in an informational meeting prior to the end of the school year. 

This trip is open to students in the Middle School. For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

St. Anne's Mission (Navajo Nation) - Klagetoh, Arizona

Photos from the July 2016 Trip

What is St. Anne Mission?

St. Anne Mission is a Franciscan ministry in Klagetoh, Arizona and on the Navajo Nation approximately halfway between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Flagstaff, Arizona.  In addition to serving as a Roman Catholic parish, St. Anne Mission provides a variety of outreach ministries to the Navajo people, including basic home repairs, programming for children, and in-home care for the elderly.

The Navajo Reservation the largest Native American reservation by land area in the United States and is home to some of the poorest people in the country.  Census data consistently places over 40 percent of the population below the poverty line, with children often enduring the brunt of the effects, compounded by limited educational opportunities, poor infrastructure including lack of water access, and high rates of disease, especially diabetes.  Nonetheless, the Navajo people maintain great pride in their history, culture, and spirituality, all of which remain alive and vibrant across the beautiful southwest landscape.  

The Mission welcomes volunteer groups from schools, universities, parishes, and other groups, which support its programming throughout the year.  McQuaid Jesuit typically works at the Mission for a week in July.

More information is at www.klagetoh.org.

What do McQuaid Jesuit students do?

 

St. Anne Mission typically engages high school groups such as McQuaid Jesuit’s in a variety of home repair projects.  Students typically break up into several teams at the start of each day, accompanied by a Mission employee and an adult leader.  Some projects last multiple days, while others are smaller in scale and can be completed in a morning or afternoon.  The projects inevitably bring students into contact with Navajo families, who will frequently take time to share their stories and answer questions.

With a large population of young children in the area, St. Anne Mission also sponsors activities for them, including trips to swim at a local reservoir and nightly romps on the Mission’s playground.  Older children frequent the Mission’s basketball court for pick-up games.

While working at the Mission, McQuaid Jesuit students also visit historical and cultural sites of importance, including the Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Hubbell Trading Post.  Past trips have also included a rare opportunity to witness traditional Pueblo Dances in neighboring New Mexico.  A traditional sweat session in the Mission’s own sweat lodge is also an integral part of the experience.

Our work at St. Anne Mission is accompanied by regular reflection, drawing on scripture, the Native American tradition, and Ignatian spirituality.  Students are challenged to look inward and examine their strengths and weaknesses in the context of encountering and accompanying the poor.  

What are our living arrangements?

 

Students live in simple, dorm-style housing while staying at St. Anne Mission.  Meals are shared, and students assist with food preparation.  Depending on the trip itinerary, the group may camp at a local state park for one evening of the trip.

Students do not have access to personal electronic devices during the trip.  Faculty leaders maintain daily communication with parents via email and text messages.  Due to the isolated nature of the region, cellular coverage in northeast Arizona is limited, but the Mission has reliable wifi and a landline.  

How do we prepare for the experience?

 

Students begin meeting as a group in January of the year of the trip.  Part of the programming is aimed at building a sense of community within the group, creating a sense of being “accountable to and for one another.”  Other meetings familiarize the group to Navajo customs and history.  Finally, the group examines Catholic social teaching and themes of social justice, which provide an essential context for the overall experience.

Students need a valid, government-issued I.D. for travel.  There are no specific health arrangements required in advance of the trip, though the group reviews health and safety guidelines prior to travel and again after arrival at St. Anne Mission.

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Summer Service Opportunities - Rochester, NY

Each summer, the Office of Campus Minsitry offers various service opportunities. These include environmental conservation at the Genesee County Park and Forest in East Bethany NY and landscaping and light maintenance work at the YWCA and Benin Casa in Rochester, NY.