Humans of L’Arche, Friends with Disabilities, Spring Break 2016

Humans of L’Arche

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This is a picture of me and David. David is a man of few words, but when he does choose to contribute to conversation it is always hilarious. I knew David and I would get along from the moment I made a pretty terrible joke and he was the only one who laughed. I felt a connection with him through our shared sense of humor. My experience at L’Arche was made positive through the beautiful and unique people who shared life with me.

-Abby

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This is Johnny, as you can tell from his big smile, he is a ray of sunshine. Throughout this week, I have gotten the pleasure to get to know him while listening to Johnny Cash music and eating cake, his favorite dessert. He is truly the nicest and most genuine individual I have ever met. I strive to be more like him. I will never forget the moments we shared this week at L’Arche. I hope one day I can go back to Clinton, Iowa and make more memories with Johnny because they are bound to be the absolute best.

-Molly

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Darin and Kenny are two people in the apartment program at L’Arche. Darin is the one giving me bunny ears and Kenny is one hugging me. One of my favorite days of the service trip was the day we spent in the apartments. I really connected with Darin and Kenny, both of them are so fun-loving, genuine and kind. Darin is a beautiful singer and Kenny has one of the kindest souls I have ever encountered. The time I spent with them warmed my heart and filled me with joy.

-Kaisa

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On the right is Dan. He loves racecars and has a massive collection. I saw that he is a sweet and caring person. He offered us cookies when we were in his home, and they tasted delicious. I enjoyed getting to know him and visiting his apartment. I hope to be able to go back to Clinton, Iowa one day and get to hang out with him some more because he made my day happy and put a smile on my face.

-Amalia

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L’Arche is a unique and wonderful place. Each individual, whether a core member, assistant, or Director of Hospitality, has a vital role to the L’Arche community. When you enter into the community, you are welcomed and celebrated with hugs, warm meals, and laughter. I was both nervous and excited to return to the community. However, my nerves were gone the moment I received a warm welcome from Sarah, the Director of Hospitality, and Bob, a core member. Throughout the week, I was constantly amazed by the love and relationships formed in the homes. Assistants shared life with core members even when they “were not on the clock” and expressed love that expected nothing in return. I once again was shown what radical hospitality is and I cannot wait to share it with the campus. I cannot wait to return to L’Arche once again, hopefully sooner rather than later.

-Shannon

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Reframing Communio, Long Weekend 2017: Sharing Life in Arch 4: A Community & Family

During Long Weekend 2017, four SNC students traveled to the L’Arche community in Clinton, Iowa. Here is their reflection from their first night on site.

October 6, 2017

Life in L’Arche is always busy.  We had a full day after getting in around 11pm last night and we enjoyed every minute of it!

After a quick tour of the community, we were welcomed to join the professional staff during their meeting which focused on the Formation of L’Arche as an International Federation. The meeting was extremely informative about the “whole picture” of L’Arche on an international level. It was a privilege to get to see how L’Arche is making positive changes to its leadership structures.

After, we transitioned into sharing life. We split ourselves between two of the homes and were welcomed so lovingly. It was incredible to meet (and reconnect) with core members and observe the deep and enriching relationships they have among themselves. They are such nice people. You can learn what love is by being a stranger and cooking a meal with a community that seems more like a family.

Tonight for supper, Maria was in charge of cooking chicken tacos for dinner. Both Maria and Emory helped prepare the meal and serve it to the core members who live in Arch 4. Maria felt “special and happy” when they members said they liked her cooking. It was nice to feel needed, but nicer yet to feel accepted.

Josie was amazed by the family dynamic and how they all “come together” to love and support each other, which we saw first hand during an anniversary celebration later in the night.

We can’t wait to discover this beautiful community full of life on a deeper level throughout the week.

Peace,
Maria, Emory, Josie, and Abigail

TRIPS Experience Reflection: Lizzy Roy

For Spring Break, I had the privilege of leading, serving, and living life with an amazing group of fellow SNC students and the patients at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Hope Lodge, and Ronald McDonald House. To think we began planning for this trip in September, and I became a trip leader at this time last year feels both so long and so short ago. My heart still feels so full, even a month after returning, and I don’t think I’ll ever have quite the words to describe those 7 days, however, remarkable seems to encompass it all. From the irreplaceable experiences at each service site, intermixed with the endless laughs and some tears within our amazing group, the week, as well as the overall time leading up to the trip, has given tremendous challenges and the opportunity to serve and make relationships with some incredibly strong groups of people, make new friends, and ultimately, make a positive difference in the lives of others. My TRIPS experience was a very transformative experience. I grew tremendously as an individual and learned so many essential life lessons, lessons I sincerely believe I would not have learned without this experience. To each of our service sites, thank you for allowing us to be a part of the love and genuine care you give your patients and their families each and every day. You will you forever and ever hold a special place in mine and our group’s hearts ❤ 

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First Impressions: Urban Poverty Detroit

We arrived in Detroit Saturday afternoon. Nobody in the group had ever been to Detroit before, and we were astonished by what we saw. There were blocks filled with abandoned houses and urban decay almost everywhere we looked. After dropping our stuff off at where we were staying we went to visit the Cass Community Center. When we got there they were all out of power due to a wind storm that hit Michigan the previous week. Even though they lacked power the staff at Cass made sure dinner would be served for all of the residents. We ate dinner with the residents and staff of Cass. We both introduced ourselves and heard more about the organization we would be volunteering for this week. After eating a hearty meal we returned back to where we were staying eager for the week ahead.

-John Jordan

Last Day of School Thoughts with Urban Education

Today was our third and final day with the students at St. Anthony’s School and it was bittersweet to know that we had to leave our students today. We have each had a unique and impactful experience. At each one of the schools, the dynamic seemed to be different and each one of us had a different classroom impact with our children. The after school program really seemed to help us create deeper relationships with the children. At the middle school is was harder to create those close relationships within 3 days, but, in my opinion, this experience has reinforced a lot of our grade/subject of choice. Tonight we reflected on our TRIPS experience as a whole. Our reflection leaders started our session with each of us reading a quote about service and describing how it connected to our experience. For example, one of our quotes was, “When I dare to be powerful- to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid”. Each of us was nervous before coming on this TRIP because we did not know what to expect or what our experience would be like. However, I believe that we all overcame our fears and were powerful- we all had an impact on someone within these last three days and made memories that we will keep with us. There were several people on this TRIP who through this experience, affirmed that this is what they want to spend their lives doing. St. Anthony’s will be forever in our hearts and will forever empower us to become effective teachers and leaders in the classroom.

Affordable Housing – Habitat for Humanity

Hello again from the Affordable Housing – Habitat for Humanity TRIPS, updating you all on our week of service here in Little Rock, Arkansas!
On Monday, March 13th we began our week of service with a day at the Little Rock ReStore, a second-hand hardware and clothing store run completely on donations from the public. The ReStore is Habitat for Humanity’s main financial resource, and the money made from the ReStore is how all of the Habitat houses are funded, so our service there is incredibly important. We helped with miscellaneous projects around the ReStore such as painting, organizing, and revitalizing the storefront. By giving the ReStore this little facelift, we transformed it to look just as welcoming as the lovely faces shopping while we worked!
After a full day of service under our belts, we ventured into the city to explore the downtown area, gleefully engaging in all the tourist attractions, including rocky playgrounds, tall bridges, and actually finding THE fabled “little” rock.

On Tuesday, we woke bright and early to a brisk, cloudy day of service (we were expecting much warmer weather, but are grateful to be out of the snow nonetheless!). While battling the cold, we met two Habitat workers, Bryan and John, who truly live out what it means to provide preferential option for the poor by exuding generosity and a great pride for the hard work that they do to help Habitat families into their new homes and in rehabbing the Little Rock community in revitalization projects. The first half of the day was spent digging holes for a fence and cementing the foundation posts, while the second half was spent in the ReStore on the other side of town where we met another group of fabulous Habitat workers while glamming up the sales floor.

Tuesday night was spent with a wonderful SNC Alum, Kelli, who graduated in the ‘70s. She just happened to see one of our group member’s posts on Facebook and reached out to us for a dinner get-together! We invited her over for one of our simple living meals, a spaghetti dinner, and we enjoyed a fulfilling conversation about how St. Norbert has left a huge impact on her life even to this day. It was refreshing to discuss how SNC’s values have remained untouched some 40 years later.  

On a dazzling, sunny Wednesday, we had perhaps our most fulfilling day of service yet. We worked on three projects: a yard rehabilitation project for a very grateful woman, completing the previous day’s fence framework, and painting the eaves on the house of another Habitat rehabilitation project. After becoming closer to the people we worked with and served for, our group grew in our understanding of the importance of community and service work.

Until next time,
SNC TRIPS Affordable Housing – Habitat for Humanity 2017

“One Spartanburg”- Christmas in Action

We have currently completed our fourth day of work here in Spartanburg, SC. We have learned a lot about the issue of affordable housing. One thing we have heard many times down here is the phrase, “One Spartanburg.” It is obvious that the community of Spartanburg has a lot of pride in their city. We are here to help this community continue to feel this pride and nurture this pride. One of their city gems is the organization we are helping, “Christmas in Action.” Their mission is to help with housing projects for the elderly and otherwise disabled members of their community. Getting to help Christmas in Action build their own office space, enables them to be able to help others in their community to maintain the pride of the one and only Spartanburg. Besides the office space, we have been shingling the home of Ms. Rogers. Being able to provide a new roof for her enables her to stay in the home she has lived in for over 40 years. It is evident, of the large amount of pride she has for her house. Although it was probably very hard for her to ask for help, Ms. Rogers applied and was selected to be served by her supportive community of “One Spartanburg.”

St. Anthony’s Day 3

Today was our second day with our students at St. Anthony School. As our connections grow with different people, we have gained a new perspective from students, faculty, and other TRIPS participants. During dinner each day, we have talked about highs and lows from our day and everyone has been able to take away something positive from each experience that they have. A common theme would be people helping a student accomplish a task and establish relationships with students. Through working with a diverse population that is different than any other experience that we have all had in the past, we have learned different teaching methods that would be effective for us to implement in the future. By working with a diverse population, we found it necessary to discuss the impact that our government has on children and their education. We will all be sad to say goodbye to our students tomorrow.