By Alexa Brown, Senior Communications Intern
Spending a day doing service can be a very enriching experience. Whether volunteering at a local shelter, assisting in community outreach programs, or visiting the elderly, each moment is filled with a sense of purpose and compassion. Taking part in acts of kindness and selflessness while embracing ND’s Mercy Core Value of Service provides students with a connection to both the community and their spirituality. The Notre Dame community is excited to announce that we have returned to the pre-COVID days with our participation in onsite service activities.
Notre Dame has a long history of service work in the community.
For many years our Freshman, Sophomores, and Junior students all went at different times during the school year to help, to be a presence, to offer hands and hope and hard work with non-profit organizations that work with the homeless, the elderly, the food insecure, the disabled and children. When the pandemic hit, this was not possible for many years and that spirit of service to the community had to be manifested in other ways. Now that things are inching their way back toward normalcy it is wonderful to be able to see, touch, and spend time with people as we partner with these organizations.
On January 8, ND Juniors participated in their ICAN Day which took them to many various sites in the community. Half of the class completed community service and the other half went to St. Ann's Parish Center for a spiritual day of retreat.
The day began with a mass celebrated by Fr. Jason, our Chaplain, and then joined their small groups and traveled to individual sites. These sites included SPROUTS U, St. Ann’s School, Our Lady of Sorrows School, Mercer County CYO (Yardville), Little Kids College, Mount Carmel Guild, Visitation Home, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK), and Homefront. Throughout the day, students did a variety of activities including arts and crafts, reading books, playing sports, and more.
Those Juniors who went to St. Ann's Parish participated in a retreat day focusing on the ICANs in their own lives: "I can make a difference in the world" "I can be the hands of Jesus in the world" and "I can be a better person each day." Students were given the opportunity to hear a presentation by Senior Julia Fraticelli who shared pictures and stories from her time doing mission work in Tanzania. Our juniors also participated in a creative workshop where they created "hands" that signified how they could be the hands of Jesus in the world and upon which they had words of inspiration. Lastly, the students learned to pray the Ignatian Examen which is a form of self-reflection and goal setting that is prayed by many Catholics each day to ensure their ongoing spiritual growth.
All in all, it was a truly blessed day of service and reflection both of which are truly important to the Catholic Identity of Notre Dame High School. As we branch away from our COVID ways, we hope to continue these endeavors outside of the school community and aid others throughout the community, spreading our Mercy Core Values. A special thanks to Dr. Ellieen Ingbritsen, Mr. Matthew Greeley, Mrs, Tracey Reed, the senior service leaders, and all the faculty chaperones for helping make this day of service a success.