In Ryken's Footsteps
Several times a year, we organize service and cultural immersion trips for students. Some are as close as Virginia, while others take students as far away as Haiti and Ecuador. In making these trips, we continue the journey of Theodore James Ryken, who founded the Xaverian Brothers in 1839. Service Trip Interest form and additional information is posted in the Student Portal.
San Jose, California: Students spend the week working with programs based at a local Catholic parish that benefit many different people in the community. The parish ministers to roughly 5,000 people, 90% of whom are immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries. Students visit an organic farm and ranch in San Juan Bautista to learn about land stewardship and sustainable farming in the region. During April vacation.
Jamaica Mustard Seed Communities: Started in 1978 as a home for abandoned and disabled children, today Mustard Seed in Montego Bay serves more than 500 children and young adults with disabilities, children who are HIV positive, pregnant teens and their babies. Students work with the children, help on projects to improve the home, and build community while fostering each student's spirituality. During February break.
Ecuador: Students spend a week at Rostro de Cristo, a retreat center where they explore the intersection of faith and justice. They meet local neighbors, visit service organizations, and build relationships with the volunteers who host us. This is truly an immersion program where students experience the reality of many Ecuadorians and “touch, taste, smell, see and feel how the developing world lives and be forever changed.” During February break.
Philadelphia: This program takes students to the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia to serve through the St. Vincent de Paul Center Young Adult Center. This trip introduces students to the connection between Catholic social teaching and faith, and it provides a vivid example of simplicity and solidarity. Service projects focus on environmental sustainability, food programs, serving the homeless, helping out at elementary schools and daycare centers, and visiting the elderly. During April break.
West Virgina: We travel to Appalachia and stay at a local parish center, where sttudents experience the various worldviews, challenges, and realities that families and local communities face on a daily basis. Students roll up their sleeves to help with carpentry, home repair, and home construction over the course of the trip. We also make time to meet the families living in these homes and spend time with the local community. During April break.
Guatemala: A team of students helps to build a decent, affordable home alongside family members in Guatemala. Team members mix cement, lay bricks, and assist the local masons. Not only does Habitat for Humanity bring people together to build homes, but more important, they bring hope to families and communities around the world. In June.
Camp Sunshine: Camp Sunshine in Maine is a camp for kids from infants to 18 year-olds who have, or have had, life threatening illnesses. Donations and volunteer hours allow the kids and their families attend the camp for free. Each student is assigned to an age group and will play with the kids both inside and outside. Activities vary from sledding in the winter to kayaking in the summer. Students may also help with arts and crafts or to serve food. There are a variety of night activities to watch or help out at as well including carnival games and the talent show. In February and June.