Mercy isn’t cancelled: Service immersions continue through virtual outreach
During this challenging time, Salve Regina students have forged on in living out its Mercy mission. Mercy isn’t cancelled by social distancing or remote learning, and neither is the call to continue good work in the world to make it more a just and harmonious place.
So what are some ways Salve Regina can continue to serve and give back to communities in need? Read below to find out the details.
Service Plunge 2.0 makes an impact through virtual teamwork
Service Plunge 2.0 is an annual spring service immersion where students engage issues related to environmental justice and food insecurity. Though the spring Service Plunge 2.0 was cancelled this year, student leaders and participants dedicated to their cause were determined to make an impact.
Students are currently working as a team to virtually prepare activities to support sustainability initiatives for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 and Salve Regina’s upcoming Earth Week. They also donated their program funds (in lieu of a refund) to support the purchase of needed school supplies for students at the Pell Elementary School within the Newport community. School administrators and staff distributed the supplies to support the elementary school’s students and families with in-home learning.
Service immersion to Orlando, Florida, with Give Kids the World
Since 2017, Salve has participated in an annual service immersion to Orlando, Florida, partnering with Give Kids the World Village and the Sunshine Foundation to offer trips to critically ill children or children who have physical or developmental disabilities and their families.
The twenty students that were scheduled to participate this May were heartbroken about the cancelation due to COVID-19. Despite their disappointment, this group of students has continued working hard to fundraise for Ronan, an adventurous 5-year-old boy with mild autism who lives on Aquidneck Island.
Ronan loves to ride bikes, jump on the trampoline and climb just about anything! “Fun is my middle name,” he said. “I’m full of hugs, smiles, and love. I love to swim, splash, and slide.” Ronan’s ‘Dream Come True’ is to go to the Florida Theme Parks and to play at a water park.
Since reaching their goal to fund Ronan’s wish, the student immersion team is fundraising to send Bella on her wish trip. Bella is 11 years old. When she was 8 months, she got sick with Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which led her to have a stroke and later to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a cortical vision impairment.
Bella is a lively, strong-willed and magnetic little girl who brings love and laughter to all who meet her. Her ultimate dream is to walk one day, but having the chance to go to Disney World is right up there! Bella’s wish is 25% funded, so the immersion team is working hard to raise the rest of the funds to support her wish to meet Anna and Elsa.
Service immersion to South Dakota Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation with Simply Smiles
Eden Zaleski ’21 is a student leader for the August service immersion to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in partnership with Simply Smiles. Due to current circumstances, the Lakota community and Simply Smiles have made the difficult decision to cancel all service immersions to the reservation in South Dakota for the summer, as well as their in-person ‘Keep Hope Alive’ fundraiser.
The Simply Smiles summer camp serves hundreds of children on the reservation each year with the help of numerous volunteers, including this group of students from Salve Regina, and the fundraiser generates about 40% of their annual program budget. If you wish to support our Salve Regina students in continuing to raise money for this impacted community organization, visit Simply Smiles here.
The Mercy mission continues: 2021 service immersions
The Center for Community Engagement and Service is continuing to plan and fundraise for future service immersions as well. The Center has already begun planning for the January 2021 service immersion to Jamaica in partnership with Mustard Seed Communities, an organization that works with the local Catholic Church to support the needs of vulnerable children with mental and physical disabilities.
In addition, the center is planning for a new service immersion to Ecuador in 2021 with Rostro de Cristo focused on the critical concern of immigration. This immersion will invite students to live in community with marginalized families locally, learn about pressing social issues impacting these communities and deepen students’ commitment to solidarity and social justice.
If anyone is interested in getting involved in one of these upcoming service immersions, contact Kathleen Rendos (firstname.lastname@example.org), assistant director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service, or visit The Center for Community Engagement and Service.
Each Monday, SALVEtoday will provide a service update for the University community on what faculty, staff and students are doing to help out others during this time of remote living and learning. #salvesgotthis #mercymondays