News and Announcements

‘Tis the season of giving back

December 20, 2016

The end of the semester can be a stressful time on campus. After months of classes, countless hours of studying and intense final exams, most students can’t wait to return home and begin their winter break.

In the case of 22 Regis students, plans to celebrate the holidays with their families were temporarily put on hold. Immediately following finals week, these students travelled to either Los Angeles or New Orleans, to participate in a week-long service immersion trip coordinated by the Center for Ministry & Service.

“Throughout the semester, students learned about the history, politics, and the economic and social structures which frame the lives of those they would eventually meet,” explains Daniel Leahy, director of the Center for Ministry & Service. “We wanted them to understand that they were not going to ‘help’ anyone as much as they were going to accompany, support and love someone in need.”

Destination: Los Angeles

The LA group made their way to the Dolores Mission Parish in the city of Boyle Heights, right outside of downtown Los Angeles. There they witnessed first-hand the harsh reality of poverty and homelessness by working with Homeboy Industries, a non-profit that helps ex-gang members and previously incarcerated men and women become contributing members of their community.

The program provided students with the opportunity to immerse their whole selves into the community. In addition to staying with local families for a portion of the trip, this team fed the homeless on Skid Row, worked with troubled youth at a juvenile hall, assisted a pair of after-school programs, and helped organize a local shoe drive which donated more than 1,300 pairs of shoes to children and families in need.

“The experience opened my eyes in so many ways,” says Andrea Baez ’17. “After working with the kids in the juvenile hall, it’s clear that we’re not so different. They have feelings. They have dreams. They just want to feel accepted, loved and appreciated. People can surprise you when given a chance.”

Destination: New Orleans

More than 11 years have passed since Hurricane Katrina descended upon New Orleans, but nearly 5,000 families who owned homes prior to the storm still do not have the resources necessary to rebuild. To assist this community in need, a motivated team of Regis students worked directly with the St. Bernard Housing Project to rebuild one family’s home. Since its founding in 2006, SBP has rebuilt homes for more than 1,170 families with the help of 150,000 volunteers across seven states.

The team of Regis students rolled up their collective sleeves and did some serious work. From painting the exterior to installing new interior doors, students completed a wide variety of tasks all with one goal in mind: help a family return home.

“Meeting people who were impacted by the storm, and hearing their stories of survival and recovery was amazing,” explains Jeremy Morgenbesser ‘17. “It was shocking to see just how much devastation remains after all of these years. I’m proud we were able to come together and do our part to help one family in need.”

Continuing to answer the call to service

Regis’ commitment to stand in solidarity with our “Dear Neighbors” who find themselves living on the margins of our society endures. During Spring Break (March 4 – 12, 2017), the Center for Ministry & Service will conduct two additional immersion trips, but this time on an international scale. Destinations will be Peru and the Mustard Seed Communities in Nicaragua.

Special thanks to each of the students and staff leaders who participated in the December immersion trips:

  • Los Angeles - Andrea Baez ‘17, Kyle Gillen-Hughes ‘19, Uryline Grandoit ‘18, Courtney Harlow ‘18, Sofia Neri ’17, Jessica Pierre (graduate student), Shennel Proctor ‘18, Michael Robicheau ‘19, Nicole Roche ‘18, Meghan Stanton ‘17, David Venegas ‘17, Arianna Woodley ‘17, Karen Marquez (staff) and Sarah Gallenberg-Maloney (staff)
  • New Orleans - Emma Dagesse ‘17, Judcine Felix ‘18, Chanelle Zaria Garcia ‘18, Taylor Glynn ‘17, Julia Jones ‘18, Elioukenda Limose ‘17, Jeremy Morgenbesser ‘17, Matt Norton ‘17, Lauryn Parker ‘19, Hannah Walworth ‘19, Mark Clemente (staff), Mark Harrington (staff), Thatiana Jeune ‘17 (staff), Jeffrie Parrish (graduate student/staff) and Rachel Tortora ‘17 (staff)
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