Sophomores embarked on the first day of their two-day Ascent experience this week, with half the class heading to Camp Wyman for teambuilding activities, and the rest of the class dispersing to one of several different service sites around the city.
“Today is just one step in growing toward that vision of being men for and with others,” said Fr. Schroeder as students gathered in the chapel to begin the day in prayer. “My hope for each of you,” he added, “is to see the value in serving others. I challenge you to realize the virtues of brotherhood, companionship, and service.”
Students on their day of service spent Monday pulling weeds, clearing brush, sorting donated clothing items, cleaning out a freezer, composting grass piles, and tackling other landscaping tasks. Down the street from the food pantry at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, students dug two trenches on either side of a dirt pile in preparation for path reconstruction coordinated by the Fairground Neighborhood Revitalization Organization. The new walkway will allow local citizens an easier approach through the corner of West Florissant Avenue and Warne Avenue to the food pantry where they have access to not only donated food and clothing items, but also to a matching program that helps them offset utility bill costs.
De Smet Jesuit students and teachers also served the Ville Family Garden, Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, North Grand Neighborhood Services, and the Dewey International School Garden in partnership with Gateway Greening.
For many of the sophomores, the service sites were in neighborhoods and environments very different from where they live, and the day of service introduced them to parts of St. Louis they had not previously been. When asked to reflect, some students acknowledged how fortunate—and even spoiled—they are and admitted that the day helped them to be thankful for what they have and not take it for granted.
“The Day of Service will help students to better understand that building up the Body of Christ means going out into the mission field and doing our part to make the world around us a better place through service to others,” said Dave Boland in describing Ascent. Mr. Boland, College Counselor and one of the Ascent coordinators, adds, “The comforting message in all this is that we are not alone. Jesus sent out his apostles, not alone, but in pairs. We achieve more when we pool our resources together and work to the same end.”
In addition to the Ascent Day of Service, sophomores at De Smet Jesuit also complete 20 additional hours of service throughout the year, learning to find God in all things and build up the Body of Christ through service for and with others.
To learn more about our comprehensive service program and how our students contribute to the world as men of virtue and action, please contact Fr. Schroeder, Chaplain and Service Project Team Coordinator. To connect with one of our service partners or for more information about our sophomore Ascent, contact Dave Boland or Lisa Knabe.