Aiming to raise the awareness of the Seton Hall community to social injustice through direct involvement in serving others, the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) embarked on a service trip to Haiti in early 2014. Julia Nobrega, a student who participated in this trip and in a prior trip to Haiti with DOVE in 2011, was so profoundly impacted by her experiences that she took to a blog entry to express her sentiment on the impact of service.
While in Haiti, Julia and her peers were housed at the Maison Fortuné
Orphanage, located in Hinche on the central plateau. Over the course of
their trip, students taught English, read to toddlers, danced with
elder women and performed several other acts of kindness to serve the
people of Hinche, Haiti.
The purpose of the trip was to leave an impact on the people of
Haiti, but Julia proved it was an impact that went both ways when she
said, "On my second trip I received more than I gave. I was reminded of
the power of touch, community, and hardship of others." Julia keeps in
contact with a few of the young boys from the orphanage as a way of
prolonging that impact. This may be Julia's final trip to Haiti with the
DOVE program, but she hopes to continue learning and serving through
smaller acts such as taking the time to listen to others and donating
time to those who are less fortunate.
The 2014 trip reinforced Julia's practice of reflection – a practice
that truly took root during her first trip in 2011. Julia refers to that
trip as a "spiritual awakening." Referring to the daily group Masses
held by the DOVE participants while in Haiti, Julia said, "Religious or
not, it was a time of reflection each day and active discussion." This
practice, the location and the hardships faced by Haiti due in large
part to the tragic natural disasters that had hit the area, all helped
to make the trip a deeply touching and humbling experience.
Through the combined experiences of both trips to Haiti and her
involvement with service over the years, Julia concluded, "One doesn’t
have to be in another country or even another state in order to
experience something impactful and beyond oneself. My path led me to
Haiti, but others may have discovered these lessons at Seton Hall, or
volunteering at a local garden, shelter, nursing home. The environment
is irrelevant. As long as you are actively learning, understanding, and
contributing in some small way to maintain education, compassion, and
peace… you are a part of the bigger ripple of progress."
To read Julia’s blog entry in full, click here.
The Division of Volunteer Efforts seeks to aid Seton Hall in its
commitment to graduate not only well educated professionals, but also
compassionate individuals rooted in and guided by faith and its
expression in firm moral convictions. DOVE encourages all members of the
Seton Hall community, regardless of faith or service background, to get
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