Each mission trip offers a unique experience.
Students traveled to the Southern Coalfields region of West Virginia (Baileysville) where they did construction repair to trailer homes, worked with the regional St. Vincent DePaul Society, and learned about the struggles of rural poverty, and the coal/logging industries. The group was also able to celebrate Mass with residents of St. John the Evangelist Parish and afterwards, share brunch and hear stories of the rich culture of the Appalachian Region from community members.
The New Orleans students continued to work with Habitat for Humanity on the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward, which was ravaged by Katrina and still hindered by their struggle with poverty. This year, students worked alongside new partners as well, such as, St. Bernard Project, St. Bernard Community Center and the John Dilbert Charter School where Duquesne Alum, Lauree Akinola is a teacher. Additionally, students were able to tour some historic areas of the city and truly see the strong spirit of the people of New Orleans!
In the trip to Immokalee, Florida, students work with and learn from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a group of migrant farmworkers in FL. Throughout the week, the group explores the root causes of injustice through community conversation, and serving in various community organizations such as daycares/ afterschool programs, soup kitchens, and low income housing facilities. This year’s trip culminated in marching alongside members of the CIW and allies, where students fully began their understanding of solidarity.
In August, students are planning a working visit to Our Lady of Hope Parish, a Spiritan Mission in San Juan de La Maguana, Dominican Republic, where they will organize and facilitate a camp with members of the youth group from the parish and see firsthand the work of a Spiritan Mission.
By beginning to understand and to see the issues facing the residents in all of these communities, students often return to Duquesne with a new sense of mission and hopefully become advocates for these issues in the Duquesne community and beyond.