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SXU service trip builds homes for the needy in Belize

Students, faculty, staff and alumni attended trip

Chicago (June 17, 2009) A Saint Xavier University service trip recently helped build homes for needy people in Belize as part of the Second International Mercy Service Trip.
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In accord with the University’s mission and core values of providing service to those in need, 12 students and seven faculty, staff and alumni built two houses during the seven-day service trip. Belize’s Hand in Hand Ministries coordinated the group’s activities and provided them with lodging.

“The most rewarding part of the trip was getting to know the house recipients; hearing their stories, finding out what their lives are like and playing with their beautiful children,” said senior Bridget Mitchell of Oak Lawn.

Additionally, the group toured Mayan ruins and met the Sisters of Mercy at Saint Catherine Academy in Belize City. They also saw a special performance by the Garifuna Dancers, an indigenous group primarily located in Honduras and Belize.
Sister Joy Clough, R.S.M., attended the trip and said it was “a wonderful opportunity for the students.”

“They experienced a new culture with all its gifts and challenges, and they had a unique experience of some of our core values such as service, integrity and learning for life,” said Clough, who is special assistant at Saint Xavier’s Office for University Mission and Heritage.

The following students attended the trip: Christina Arroyo, sophomore, Chicago; Regina Byrnes, senior, Streamwood; Lauren Dentzman, senior, Lemont; Dana Eppley, senior, Palos Heights; Lori Key, sophomore, Dowagiac, Mich.; Cincerlyn Lewis, junior, Chicago; Bridget Mitchell, senior, Oak Lawn; Krista Olenek, sophomore, Algonquin; Kelly Ospina, senior, Oak Lawn; Amanda Phillips, junior, Matteson; Stephanie Rodriguez, senior, Chicago; and Patricia Ann Smith, senior, Markham.

Saint Xavier’s Office for University Mission and Heritage sponsored the trip, which was partially subsidized by the Mercy Challenge Endowment and several corporate and individual donors.