I had the pleasure of spending my spring break with nine fantastic people in Philadelphia, PA.
After going on two service immersion trips through University Ministry I decided that it was time to take on the challenge of being the student leader for a trip. I applied last Winter and had a class last Spring in preparation. This winter quarter before the trip I also had class once a week to prepare for the trip.
The service immersion trips are organized by the Vincentian Community Service Office of University Ministry. The hope of the trips is not to necessarily provide services that would otherwise be unmet if we didn't go somewhere, but instead to hear stories from the people we meet and learn about the issues in that community. We are on the trips to learn about our relatioinship with the poor and the marginalized and to examine how we live our daily lives back at home or at school. The most important aspects of hte trip include awareness, simplicity, dialogue, and solidarity.
After a 14 hour car ride to Philadelphia we arrived in Germantown, a neighborhood about 10 minutes outside of downtown Philly. Each day we woke up around 7:30am and left the house by about 9am. We would work at one or two service sites and then get back around 5pm. Most nights we had some other type of activity planned, such as a visit to a Jesuit Volunteer Corps house in Philadelphia as well as a potluck dinner with members of the local dioceses. Reflection is an important part of the trips and each night we would talk about the things we saw, experienced, and felt and what that means for us.
I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend the week with. Here are some pictures to give you a glimpse of our trip.