Provided by Ms. Mary Wilby and Br. Richard Galvin, FSC
Port-au-Prince, Haiti / El Paso, TX – During the winter break, Lasallian Collegians set out on immersion trips, sometimes to learn about social justice issues first hand, sometimes to see the broader, global Lasallian mission, but always to be in service to others in need.
La Salle University’s Lasallian Immersion and Volunteer Experience (LIVE) and Manhattan College’s Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience (LOVE) gives students the opportunity to perform community service projects and create lasting friendships with fellow collegians. These community service programs allow students to gain invaluable insights into the lifestyles and social justice issues that impact individuals and communities. Working with partner organizations both in the United States and abroad, students come away from their transformative experience with a new perspective.
One of the most recent LIVE trips took La Salle Explorers to the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which was built after the devastating earthquake that ravaged the country over five years ago. Students were afforded time to learn about Haitian culture, spend time with the Brothers in community, and serve as tutors and teachers with the Lasallian students of the Port-au-Prince school and children cared for by the local orphanage on the outskirts of town. Check out the Instagram Story from La Salle University’s account to get a snap shot of the Explorers’ immersion >
Concurrently, La Salle students from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences were also on the Port-au-Prince campus, at the Women and Children Health Centre. Led by Assistant Professor, Mary Wilby, Ph.D., MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC, R.N., students provided much needed basic health care and education to local women and their families, and the school’s students. The Health Centre is a collaboration of the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
Manhattan College’s winter LOVE immersion trip had Jaspers head south to El Paso, Texas. This border immersion experience, which centers on going “beyond the borders” of our consciousness, helped students, and our Brother Richard Galvin who traveled with the group, to get a better understanding of those living along the margins. The El Otro Lado immersion program exposes participants to the many issues related to border realities such as; immigration, unaccompanied minors, youth at risk, political asylum seekers, human trafficking and the complex cultural dichotomy of the El Paso and Ciudad Juarez borderland. Participants learned about the unique culture of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, interacted with people in the borderland, listened to their stories, and shared in the experiences of their day-to-day lives. Representatives from various organizations from both sides of the border such as Border Patrol and grassroots organizations hosted different sessions throughout the immersion to give the group an overall picture of the borderland.