Saint Xavier University (SXU) is excited for the opportunity to have eight students and two advisors represent SXU on a service trip to Belize. The trip, which will run from May 13 to May 20, will allow students to build a home for a Belizean family in need alongside the organization Hand in Hand Ministries.
Director of Campus Ministry, Deidre Kleist, is hopeful that the opportunity for service in another country will bring students closer to the values set by the Sisters of Mercy. By focusing on a community that is in need of service, Kleist feels that this trip in particular truly embodies the foundation created by the Sisters of Mercy.
“Service trips really are a great way to embody the Mercy spirit,” said Kleist. “It seems to me that this trip as a whole is an exemplar for living out Mercy.”
The trip is funded partially through an International Service Trip fund and the Ixchel Deck Memorial Fund, while students fundraise to earn money for the rest of the trip. Any additional money they earn will go towards further advancements in the home they plan to build. This year their fundraising goal was $1,500, which (if funded) will allow students to build a bathroom in the home.
Kleist also hopes that students will learn about Belizean culture while serving abroad. The work they are doing is not just to provide shelter to someone in need; it is about understanding the obstacles placed on those who are already at a disadvantage. In an attempt to make the world of just one family a bit better, students and advisors will witness how profound the impact of one small act of kindness can be.
“Students are hoping to learn about a new culture, engage with local people and use what they are learning about Catholic Social Teaching in our preparation sessions to consider the social structures and injustices that contribute to the levels of poverty and inequality they may witness”, said Kleist.
Through performing acts of service, Campus Ministry hopes to bring about a greater concern for the world as a whole. While it is easy to be blinded by the inconsequential trials of daily life, there is more critical work to be done in the larger community. This service trip is the perfect chance to foster the type of community that SXU and the Sisters of Mercy wish to promote. By visiting new places and discovering cultures that are different from our own, it is easier to eliminate any barriers on our path to unity.
“The more we learn about one another, the more we work to break down prejudices and stereotypes, come to see our commonalities and shared values and appreciate one another’s traditions, culture and viewpoints,” said Kleist.
Good luck, Campus Ministry, on your service trip to Belize! SXU is thankful for your dedication to service.