From March 20 to 23, Mount Carmel juniors provided over 1,400 hours of service at various Chicago locations to show their appreciation of human dignity, the theme of Junior IMPACT. The students visited 24 different sites including various Catholic Charities, Madonna Mission, Working Bikes, and many more.
Students learn about and volunteered at agencies that respond to various types of affliction that can lead to dehumanization, and offer assistance to under-resourced Catholic schools, nursing homes, Veteran’s Centers, and homeless shelters. Along the way, Mount Carmel junior Tom Dart of Mount Greenwood, Chicago valued every second he was able to interact with someone so he could hear their story.
“You never know what you’re going to hear next,” said Dart as he looked back on the past week’s conversations. “It was really eye-opening to learn about everyone I met and hear their stories. I felt like I got to know them on a level I wasn’t expecting.”
“We want our students to follow what the Gospel states which says, ‘The good Samaritan recognized the dignity in the other and cared for his life,’” said John Stimler, Mount Carmel Director of Campus Mission and Ministry. “Each of our IMPACT weeks have their own unique effect. However, junior year leaves an even bigger one as this is the final stepping stone before the class enters their senior year where they’ll be seen as the leaders of the school.”
At the Liberty Commons in Bronzeville, three students recited original spoken word pieces for the senior citizens. Brice Dean of Woodlawn, Chicago, who was one of the students, dedicated his piece to the underappreciation of grandparents and what he does to combat that mentality.
“No matter how their immediate family may see them, we want to make them to feel like they’re a part of ours,” said Dean reflecting back on his piece and work at the Liberty Commons. “This is my last IMPACT Week, and it’s so heartwarming because I love getting to make people smile and laugh, especially the elderly at this moment.”
While Junior IMPACT Week marked the end of service weeks for Mount Carmel students this school year, the ongoing mission to continue to live with zeal for God, life, and learning continues at 6410 S. Dante Ave.