Frederick Douglass once said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” I truly experienced these words when I had the chance to volunteer at the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the Newman Catholic Community over winter break.
Each night of the trip, we participated in reflection and conversation. As I looked back at the reflections I wrote while in Philly, I realized I felt like every aspect of my being was challenged. Whether it was volunteering to sleep on the couch or cooking the community dinner for 12 with my friends Jim and Marc, I stretched myself.
During the service trip, I discovered that there is not one way to define “poverty”. There are many dimensions to who “the poor” are. Marc and I had the chance to participate in the weekly grocery deliveries to families. We saw how differently each family lived. Some people were inviting, others came to the car and said “thank you” and took the boxes inside the house. I realized poverty has many faces. Until this experience in Philadelphia, I never thought much about who the poor might be.
Dimple Joseph (2018-Industrial & Systems Engineering)
Service Learning Retreats and Opportunities are offered each semester. Newman partners with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester for weekend experiences each year (February 9-11, 2018) as well as St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (March 10-16, 2018). In the past, we have also gone to Nazareth Farm (January 2016) in Salem, West Virginia.
Service Learning Retreats offer students the opportunity to live simply, serve those living on the margins of society and learn about Catholic Social Teaching in the context of conversations based upon experiences the students encountered while on the retreat. In addition, our students plan and prepare the nightly meal for the community from RIT as well as plan and facilitate the reflection and conversation each evening. Student Leadership is fostered and nurtured in many ways through the experiences on Service Learning Retreats.
For more information about participating in service learning retreats, email or reach out to Alice Miller Nation firstname.lastname@example.org