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Diane Feffer
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 "To change the world, we must be good to those who cannot repay us," ~ Pope Francis 

A group of 40 young men at Jesuit will be living out these words this summer.  They will work on three projects:  building a security wall at a Special Needs School, renovating an orphanage and escorting a group of elders to the beach; an impactful gesture since they are granted one trip out of the Elder Home each year.   

Jesuit College Preparatory School has a long-standing relationship with a number of communities in West Nicaragua.  Christina Ellsworth, Coordinator of Nicaragua Immersion Program at Jesuit, explained how their program in Nicaragua is dedicated to offering students a week-long immersion learning experience in which they encounter a new culture, language, history, and most of all, people.  "In addition to engaging in various community projects and relationship building activities, we end every evening of our trips with a spiritual reflection to discuss our experiences as a group.  Students are challenged through the week to gain a deeper knowledge of God’s intimate presence with all persons, especially those who are marginalized. They are also challenged to consider how they might offer their life to create a harmonious world in which all individuals are dignified and supported by the political, cultural and economic systems in which they exist," stated Ellsworth.   Take a look at three of their projects in Nicaragua tied to specific goals and needs of the community. 

 

El Crucero Orphanage and School

El Crucero is both a public school and an orphanage that is run by the Sisters of the Holy Face of Jesus. The sisters are responsible for the full-time care of roughly 25 young girls as well as running an elementary school on the same premises. While they are technically a government-funded school and orphanage, they receive little-to-no financial support and therefore depend on charitable donations to run both the school and the orphanage. This summer the young men from Jesuit will renovate a classroom for them, which will include some intensive cleaning, electric wiring, and painting.

 

The Special Needs school of Leon

This school is dedicated entirely to students ages 5-18 with special needs. They have a high population of students who have learning and developmental differences as well as differently-abled bodies such as blind, deaf, para/quadriplegic, etc. students. The school has many needs and is also primarily funded through charitable donations. Jesuit Dallas, along with roughly three other organizations from the US and Switzerland, are their primary sources of financial support. This year the young men from Jesuit will help them with a project that they have been needing for years – a security wall surrounding the school premises that will help both with the safety and preservation of the school. This is a large project and will cost roughly $20,000 to complete.

 

The Elder Home of Leon

The elder home is run by the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. The majority of the elders served at this site are either no longer in contact with their families, or their families are unable to visit regularly because of logistics or finances. Every summer the young men from Jesuit fund a day trip to the beach with the elders. Each student is paired up with someone to swim and to share lunch together. This is the only opportunity the elders are given to leave the nursing home all year. It is also one of the most memorable parts of the trip for the Jesuit students each year. 

 

Thanks to Christina Ellsworth at Jesuit for contributing to this article.  

Questions about how you can help forward this group's progress in Nicaragua?  

Connect with Christina at  CEllsworth@jesuitcp.org or (972) 387-8700, ext. 282

Interested to know more or would like to make a small donation via credit card, please visit:

Visit https://www.jesuitcp.org/support/service

Donations are being matched one-to-one by a group of anonymous donors for up to $15,000. 

Please indicate that you would like the funds to go toward the Nicaragua trips.

Enjoy this two-minute clip, illustrating the pure joy shared and growth that occurs when people reach out and help others. 

 

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