A look into 2016 Mission Trips

October 17, 2016

AHN has been sending girls on Mission Trips to varying locations in and out of the U.S. since 1998. These trips give Academy girls the opportunity to serve others and make an impact, big or small, on the people that they encounter.

Costa Rica

Junior Julia Lee, and Seniors Reilly Sleater and Sophia Mastro are leading 15 girls on a brand new trip to Costa Rica. The girls will fly into Libera, Costa Rica and will be driven to Playa Samara where they will walk to their service work. The girls will work through the CREAR Association that provides supplemental education and recreational career opportunities for members of the rural beach communities surrounding Playa Samara in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Junior, Aleeza Garcia, relays her excitement about the brand new mission trip, splurging, “We are all extremely excited for the Costa Rica trip and we know that it will be an unforgettable experience.”

Dominican Republic

Senior and DR leader Lindsay Calka shares, “ Arriving at the sanctuary in La Victoria, you immediately know you are at a special, holy place. From the moment we rolled up to the moment we left, I was reminded of the love in the world and the happiness that can be obtained from living simply in the presence of God.”
Photo Credit: Lindsay Calka (used with permission)
Senior and DR leader Lindsay Calka shares, “ Arriving at the sanctuary in La Victoria, you immediately know you are at a special, holy place. From the moment we rolled up to the moment we left, I was reminded of the love in the world and the happiness that can be obtained from living simply in the presence of God.”

One of the farthest traveling mission trips flies 20 upperclassmen to La Victoria in the Dominican Republic. The girls visit impoverished families and children, work on house repairs, and spend time with the young children in the area. Missionaries are able to meet the Sisters of Schoenstatt whose mission is to lead the world back to Christ through love and service while experiencing the culture of La Victoria during their stay.

Mississippi

The Mississippi mission trip lives out the SNJM mission by rehabilitating schools, clinics, and houses in need of cleaning or car. The 17 girls that travel to Jonestown also play with neighborhood children and meet with teenage girls to discuss their education and future. Last year the girls who traveled to Mississippi were surprised by extreme flooding and the conditions many people’s houses were in.

Junior, Maddie Ruppel expresses her sorrows about the flooding in Mississippi, “We didn't expect the severe flooding; people's houses were under water and they did not have insurance to rebuild their houses. It was hard to leave Mississippi knowing half of people's houses were under water and we could not help everyone.”
Photo Credit: Maddie Ruppell (used with permission)
Junior, Maddie Ruppel expresses her sorrows about the flooding in Mississippi, “We didn’t expect the severe flooding; people’s houses were under water and they did not have insurance to rebuild their houses. It was hard to leave Mississippi knowing half of people’s houses were under water and we could not help everyone.”

Although the missionaries could not help everyone who was affected by the flooding, they did visit many families that were damaged by the flooding.

Appalachia

Karianne Buser shares a candid, heartfelt moment with two friends she bonded with on the trip.
Photo Credit: Karianne Buser (used with permission)
Karianne Buser shares a candid, heartfelt moment with two friends she bonded with on the trip.

The 18 AHN girls attending the Appalachia trip fly to Pipestem, West Virginia to work at the Appalachian South Folklife Center to rehabilitate a home for a family or group that cannot afford the renovation costs. The girl’s phones are taken when they arrive at Pipestem giving the girls an opportunity to build new connections and strengthen their bonds with one another. Opposed to Florida’s warmer climate, missionaries  to experience the colder Appalachian weather.

Junior Alessandria Ligori believes that the trip made everyone build new friendships, adding, “All of us are connected because of that trip, it was the first time we all really got to know each other.”

North Carolina

McKenna Weathers sits back and admires the Black Mountain view after a hard day of service work.
Photo Credit: Mckenna Weathers (used with permission)
McKenna Weathers sits back and admires the Black Mountain view after a hard day of service work.

The North Carolina trip consists of 30 missionaries that depart at the crack of dawn for a 12-hour bus ride from Florida to Black Mountain North Carolina. Attendees sleep in cabins where they bunk together and are able to bond with girls from varying grade levels that they are not very close to. The work on this trip is mainly physical; the girls work at a Catholic Church and a home for orphaned children cleaning up the surrounding landscape and any other chores that need to be done. At the end of the trip the attendees are lucky enough to participate in an off-site zipline and rope course adventure.

Ruskin, Florida

Amanda Lazzara and two friends sanitize toys for the kids at day care to play with.
Photo Credit: Amanda Lazzara (used with permission)
Amanda Lazzara and two friends sanitize toys for the kids at day care to play with.

In 2015, 24 missionaries attended Ruskin driven in vans to Arcadia and Wimauma Florida to work with the kids of migrant workers in day care, help with landscape, and any other physical tasks needed. This year the girls are staying at Mary Help of Christians at Heart of Tampa while still doing the work in Ruskin like the previous years.

Heart of Tampa

The 20 girls chosen for Heart of Tampa are dropped off every morning at Mary Help of Christians where they work on construction projects such as animal care, stable maintenance and refurbishing the paintings on buildings. There is a special daily prayer service and a nightly self-reflection service to allow the girls to reflect and gain insight about the service they are doing.

Junior Talia Sharrieff reveals, “My group for Heart of Tampa was the best possible combination of girls. When we weren’t working we were playing cards and genuinely enjoying each other’s company without the distraction of our phones and outside drama.”

Kayla Eckermann holds a chicken with the help of two Juniors while they work in caring and refurbishing stalls and pens for the animals at Heart of Tampa.
Photo Credit: Kayla Eckermann (used with permission)
Kayla Eckermann holds a chicken with the help of two Juniors while they work in caring and refurbishing stalls and pens for the animals at Heart of Tampa.

Scranton

The 15 missionaries chosen for the Scranton trip fly to Scranton, Philadelphia to meet the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters that guide them through their service. The girls work with service agencies in the area that help locals in economic need. The service includes working in pantries, cleaning, mural painting, and interacting with children. The girls not only get to interact with children and locals but are able to bond with the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Anna Padron and six other Scranton missioners smile for a goofy picture with Scrantons beautiful landscape in the background.
Photo Credit: Anna Padron (used with permission)
Anna Padron and six other Scranton missioners smile for a goofy picture with Scrantons beautiful landscape in the background.

The girls who give their all on these trips truly live out Academy’s service mission and make an impact everywhere they go.

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