The Privilege of Service

The Privilege of Service

Last year I was privileged to go on the Chicago Service Trip that Loras offers during January-Term break. I have done a lot of service work in my life, but never on an actual trip away from where I live, in Des Moines. I would not have gained the same experience by simply doing service work here in Dubuque. I learned how the city and the people living in Chicago see the social injustices that happen in a large scale environment. It opened my eyes to all the people who live in terrible conditions, on the margins of society and those who get unnoticed by people like us.

During our service trip we experienced many different aspects of social problems including homelessness, deportation, education, and even violence. We served meals at a Catholic Worker House, made meal packages at a food bank, met many homeless men living in a shelter to hear their stories and to give them hope. We went to a halfway house and heard stories from people who are trying to turn their lives around after being in jail and even got to go to schools and see what education is like in Chicago.

As one can tell, we did so many things in just a short amount of time, but there was so much more I wish I could’ve seen and done. Not only did we get to do all of these things, but we also got to take an afternoon to tour downtown. We didn’t see that as a day off. It allowed us to see a city like Chicago in a new light, to see the homeless on the side of the road and say hi instead of turning my head.  It definitely puts a new perspective on social injustice. I used the word privileged at the beginning of this article for a reason.

I realized that I grew up in a privileged town, with a privileged family, in a privileged school and I’m realizing now too that I am privileged in being able to write this article. I hope everyone reading this will consider how going on a service trip can help you see your life in a different and privileged way.

It doesn’t end at Chicago though, we have seven other service trips available during Thanksgiving Break, Spring Break, and J-Term Break. Please contact jesse.coleman@loras.edu, andrea.enda@loras.edu or colleen.kuhl@loras.edu for more information. Applications are due on Oct. 1.

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