A Notre Dame Learning Community

Learn, Live, Lead & Serve

Summer provides a great opportunity to focus on the needs of others in our community and beyond. While serving others, you will learn quite a bit about yourself and about the world around you, make new friends, capture life-long memories and grow as a follower of Christ. Summer is also a great time to learn

We have two types of experiences to offer:

  • Service- Learning Experiences - Liberty KY, Columbus OH and St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati
  • International Education Immersion Experience - El Salvador (CRISPAZ)

Information about these trips and applications are available below. The video slideshow below highlights our four Service-Learning Experiences. Contact Mr. Todd Forman (tforman@mndhs.org) if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • May I participate in multiple trips this summer? YES
  • May I participate in Liberty if I went on a trip during the school year? YES – Summer trips are open to everyone!
  • Are parent chaperones needed? YES – primarily for the Liberty, KY trip and the West Virginia trip. Parents should call me if they are interested in serving as a chaperone.
  • Do you have any printed applications? YES - stop by the table outside of Campus Ministry.

Chaperones: Mr. Forman and another teacher/staff member

Cost: $130 | Space limited to 8 - 12

Click HERE, HERE and HERE for photos from recent visits.

The Columbus, Ohio RTNI urban experience is a weekend visit with Aaron and Emily Starr, two wonderful people who run an inner-city ministry in Columbus OH called Reaching The Nations International (www.reachtni.org). Their ministry includes Youth Bible Study for ages 5 – 12, Proverbs 31 Girls which teaches girls ages 9 – 18 basic life skills, Money Talks, their financial literacy program for ages 13 and up, one-on-one tutoring and Young Gardeners of Milo, a 1000 sq. ft. garden project. Their unofficial ministry includes hanging out with neighbors in their home and connecting neighbors with resources when possible.

During our visit we will be doing a variety of activities including: service activities with the young people served by the Starrs, working on their ministry houses, hanging out with the teens they serve and sharing life experiences, playing games and visiting The Ohio State University. On Sunday morning we will attend mass at St. Mary's Church in Germantown, near downtown Columbus.

Student Comments:

"When I received the opportunity to return to Columbus to revisit Emily, Aaron, and the kids I met during my first experience with RXN, I was extremely excited. After going through my second trip, I can say that staying with the group this past weekend has been extremely beneficial and inspiring. Not only do I have a greater appreciation for my blessings, but I also have a deeper understanding of how God is present in everything around me"

"My life was so touched by this experience I just want to get more. The people were amazing, the experience was amazing and most of all God in what He teaches us is amazing! Every book has a story. Take a leap of faith and read the first page."

"Words cannot describe the experience in Columbus, OH. From the moment I got there to the moment I left, I knew that was where I belong. The kids were just beyond amazing all weekend and not only did I learn things from them but I also grew as I got to know them. I know that Columbus is where I will go back countless times and is something similar to what I will be doing with my life."

Chaperones: Mr. Forman, another teacher/staff member and parents

Cost: $220 | Space limited to 24 - 30

Click HERE and HERE for photos our recent trips.

What is Liberty, KY? Great question. It is a way to escape to learn about simplicity and a chance to get in touch with nature and the beauty (and challenge) of growing food organically. It is an opportunity to spend time with people who not only love God, but live their faith every moment of every day. It is where you will serve others, grow closer to your friends, make many new friends, and laugh (a lot!). It is an opportunity to meet some amazing people from around the world, folks with life stories that will stretch your mind. You also will learn a bit about farming, spend time with some wonderful Mennonite and Amish friends, help with construction projects, listen to some awesome music, serve elderly and differently-abled friends at the Galilean Children’s Home, and much more. Once again this summer we will be partnering with Seton High School. It is going to be another amazing summer experience!

Student Comments:

"Simply put, Liberty KY is a place that makes me happy and content with life, and I can’t wait to go back."

"When people ask me what I do when I go to Liberty and why it’s so important to me, I don’t even know how to respond. This entire experience is so amazing that it is hard to even put into words. Going to Liberty puts me at my happiest because of all the little things. From peeling garlic, to making trips to Sunny Valley to buy bonnets and marshmallows, it all never fails to put a smile on my face. Also, hearing the stories and looking at the simplicity of life down in Liberty makes me so happy and more appreciative of life."

"First off, let me say that Liberty has changed my life forever. It has taught me things that no other experience could teach me. I learned from this past Liberty trip was to love every person you see unconditionally and without limits. It is so easy for me to judge the way people look or how they live but Liberty pushed me to accept others who are different from me. Now when I see people who look different or act different than I do, I try to get to know that person before judging them."

"Many people say the trip has changed them, but I do not think Liberty changed me, I believe Liberty brought me to find out who I truly am."

"This trip has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I had the chance to work and bond with an amazing group of people and to experience firsthand the simplicity and peace that comes from disconnecting from our phones and recognizing that “life is really simple, but we insist on making in complicated”. One of the most prominent things that I learned on this trip was the balance between confidence and humility. When I first played my guitar and sang in front of everybody I was so nervous that my entire body was shaking. But as the trip went on I grew more and more confident, especially when other people joined in and sang with me. The sound of all of our voices singing “Little Wonders” together in the chapel during reflection time was so incredibly moving, and I realized then how music can unite people of all different ages with all different stories. During the trip I came across a quote that stated “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less” –C.S. Lewis. I thought this was particularly interesting because sometimes I purposefully put myself down or apologize for no reason in an attempt to be humble but I recently realized that true humility doesn’t involve putting anybody, including yourself, down, but putting others first. I saw so much humility in others on this trip. For example, the people who volunteered to roll the muddy tarp, the people who gave up time with their friends to help the people living at the Galilean Home. Everywhere I looked I saw people making an effort to put others first and these people inspired me to try my hardest to do the same."

Chaperones: Mr. Forman and another faculty/staff member

Cost: $210 | Space limited to 12

Click HERE and HERE for photos from previous SVdP Plunges.

St. Vincent de Paul Over-the-Rhine Urban Plunge is a service-immersion opportunity for you to connect with people from diverse backgrounds in our own city. Participants live at the SVdP headquarters near downtown Cincinnati, in the West End, and we will learn first-hand about issue of poverty in Cincinnati by spending time with the people served by St. Vincent de Paul - as seen through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching.

Activities include making home visits with St. Vincent de Paul members and staff, serving neighbors in need, preparing and sharing a meal with residents of the West End or Over-the-Rhine, spending time with people experiencing poverty and homelessness, reflecting and praying, volunteering at various social service agencies, and hearing the voices of wonderful people who you would normally never meet. It is an incredible experience that will open your eyes to the struggles faced by so many of our brothers and sisters.

Student Reflections:

"I never realized how real poverty was right in my own city. I think it’s great that people travel out of the country to help those in need, but why go to that extent if we have such poverty in our own backyard? Because of this awesome experience I had, I am now involved in our local SVDP with my own parish. I grew closer to God during the trip. I saw the face of God in so many people, both in the poor and in those helping the poor, and it definitely brought me closer to him. I think my prayer life has grown too because now I have a whole list of people that I lift up to God every night."

"The SVdP Urban plunge helped me see and understand much more about those experiencing poverty and the challenges they face on a daily basis. It is truly empowering to understand the challenges facing those experiencing poverty in our city and knowing how much we can help them simply by showing that we care. It is amazing to see the hope imparted to those we visited, even if we were not able to assist them."

"I learned how to not judge people who are less fortunate. Instead of judging them, I learned how to help them. I now know what is important in life. If you are fortunate enough to go on this trip, you learn that life is far more important than yourself. Life is about helping others and serving your community in a positive way."

Chaperones: To be determined

Cost: About $450 | Space is very limited

Mount Notre Dame is exploring the a combined service experience with students from another Sister of Notre Dame de Namur School - Summit Country Day. This experience will allow us connect with our brothers and sisters at these schools, sharing our common heritage as SNDdeN learning institutions.

For this trip we would be heading to West Virginia. Summit has participated in this trip the past few years and the students and chaperones absolutely loved the experience. Last year the work crew provided relief for the residents impacted by deadly floods. (Click HERE for details.)

Interested? Click the link above, and make note that there will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 from 6 - 7 pm at MND. Summit teacher and trip leader Ashley Volpenhein will be joining us.

Note: Depending upon the level of interest of MND students, faculty and parents, this may either be an official MND service trip, or it will be considered a Summit Country Day trip that will be open to MND students and families to join.

Chaperones: Mrs. Glass and TBA
Cost: $1950 - $2000

This trip is nearing final preparations and plane tickets will be purchased
during mid-February. There MAY be a few open spots.

Contact Mrs. Glass (jglass@mndhs.org) ASAP if you are interested.

MND will once again partner with Moeller HS as we send a delegation of students and adults to El Salvador this summer, working with the non-profit-organization known as CRISPAZ - Christians for Peace in El Salvador (www.crispaz.org). This international opportunity is a hands-on, educational experience in which students to learn about a different culture and develop solidarity with the poor or El Salvador. CRISPAZ is a faith-based organization dedicated to building bridges between the Church of the poor and marginalized communities in El Salvador, and communities in the US and other countries through mutual accompaniment.

While in El Salvador, activities may include: learning about Oscar Romero and visiting significant Romero sites, meeting with political representatives from both major political parties, spending a day at an orphanage, spending a night staying with a family out in the country, visiting the US Embassy, visiting a coffee co-op to learn about fair trade, meeting with families and discussing immigration, possibly attending a private concert given by local musicians, spending a day at the beach, and visiting a local college.

Student Comments:

“Going to el Salvador not only increased my world knowledge but also intensified my passion for peace. El Salvador is definitely what made me decide what I want to study and college, and I know the seeds that were planted in my life because of the stories and people and culture of el Salvador will only continue to educate, and make me more aware of issues that affect humans, and humanity is what we all have in common. This trip is for the people who want to learn and believe we learn best from others personal accounts and stories. This trip isn’t a service trip, its better, it gives us real world knowledge and inspires us to want to understand before we try to change. This trip showed me that telling your own story in your own unique voice is one of the most powerful things we can do.”

"To me, El Salvador was an experience of growth and awakening. Though far away, I felt so safe, comfortable, and at home there! Meeting all the people and learning about the country’s situation and history opened my eyes to a passion I have for seeing beyond the surface to help others. I didn’t know what to expect going into the trip, but what I found was so much more than what I had expected! I saw beauty in volcanoes, black sand beaches, villages surrounded by agriculture and livestock, and many other aspects to El Salvador that I couldn’t experience here. My biggest fear before the trip was the food, but I found out I really enjoyed some of the things we ate, none of which I would have discovered without broadening my horizons and going. My favorite thing we did would be the homestay, where I got to live a different lifestyle for a day and realized how grateful I am for all the blessings I have! The memories I made there will carry with me and the lessons I learned have definitely helped shape my love for service and the Spanish language. I hope to go back to Central or South America to be surrounded by such lively culture, faith, and beauty again! It truly is an experience I won’t forget and will cherish!"

Service-Learning Experiences vs. Mission Trips

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