Being involved in the community is a very important aspect of high school life. Getting out of our own personal bubble can expose us to new people and experiences. I feel Villa has provided many opportunities to fulfill this desire for experiencing new things that I had when I was an incoming freshman.
One of the best decisions I made this year was choosing to go to Camden with 10 other Juniors; Ms. Weaver, the Junior religion teacher; and Ms. Newns, Villa's Campus Minister. We drove down to the Romero Center on a Thursday night and met with students from the other school that we would be partnered with in our discussions. On Friday morning we went on a tour of Camden, which helped me better understand the city that has such a negative connotation.
Then we split and went to various service sites. I went to the Food Bank of South Jersey and, all in all, learned how important it is not to waste food and to be grateful for what you have. On Friday we also did a food activity in which we had to live on three dollars a day; this was very eye-opening. On Saturday I went to Abigail House and heard amazing stories. The sense of community that existed made me really happy to witness. The saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” really applied to this situation. Camden is always described as such a horrible city, but I met many kind, amazing people that really keep their faith, though their situation isn’t ideal.
Students should really take advantage of the service opportunities available at Villa, because the experiences you encounter and the people you meet may change your life and enhance who you become. With opportunities like Camden, Mini-THON, Twining Village and more, service can bring greater meaning and faith into your life.
- Catherine Messina '14