WE Day Rally inspires student service trip to Haiti

Emily Kirsch holds a small child at Notre Maison Orphanage in Port Au Prince. The orphanage was the housing for the Holy Family group during their stay and each day they woke to young children eager to play and be held. (Submitted photo)

Emily Kirsch holds a small child at Notre Maison Orphanage in Port Au Prince. The orphanage was the housing for the Holy Family group during their stay and each day they woke to young children eager to play and be held. (Submitted photo)

On March 22, a group of 16 students and four chaperones from Holy Family Catholic High School embarked on a cultural immersion and service trip to Haiti.
Inspired by previous mission trips and attendance at Minnesota’s We Day–Minnesota rally for student volunteers, Ella Dahlin, 18, and Emily Kirsch, 18, both of Waconia, decided to propose a spring break service trip to Haiti. The two soon connected with the organization, Healing Haiti, and created a proposal for approval by the school administration. Once the proposal was approved, Kirsch and Dahlin went to work recruiting more students and planning much of the trip including the collection of empty cereal boxes for Haitian craftspeople and funds for school supplies and sport equipment.
The group visited and participated in a variety of mission programs and experienced a traditional Haitian church service in Grace Village, a community that provides education, housing, food, and medical assistance to its members. The students shopped at the Apparent Project, an artisans’ guild working to create jobs for Haitians, for souvenirs to bring home and purchased school supplies and sporting equipment to Adoration School.
One of the favorite parts of the week for many of the students was helping the Healing Haiti water truck on its delivery route through City Soleil, one of the poorest slums in the western hemisphere and a tent city constructed after the hurricane today.
“Whether you were filling the water buckets, carrying the water or holding a child, you could feel the immediate impact to the people you were helping,” Kirsch explained.
This trip was the school’s first to Haiti, but not the first international service trip.
Others have included Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. Summer trips have also included Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Louisiana and southern Minnesota. Local service opportunities are available to Holy Family students throughout the school year.

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