Service Projects

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The money raised in the Gonzaga DC Classic support the many service projects of the Gonzaga students and community in the Washington DC area, across the U.S. and in other parts of the world. You can read about the many service projects in this PDF Document

Gonzaga Men Serving Others

Culture of Service

I really believe that every person is a revelation of God – the joy of God, the love of God.
I feel the human person on the street is the appearance of Jesus Christ, consumed with human needs. Christ is in the wretched person, as well as in the young person, the young woman, or the young child. Their smile is so fresh, like a bud or an open flower that speaks of the wealth of the plant beneath the surface. And that wealth is God.

– Fr. Horace McKenna, SJ (1899-1982)

Community service is immensely important at Gonzaga. Indeed, the school’s namesake, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, died while ministering to plague victims in Europe. In the classroom, the chapel, and the community, students are surrounded by models for service and Gonzaga seeks to provide our students with the opportunity to grow in generosity by service to those around them.

The following are personal reflections written by Gonzaga students on
their experience of service to others locally, nationally, and internationally. Gonzaga students are taught the goal of Ignatian Spirituality – to “find God in all things.” Gonzaga students offer their thoughts, insights, and reactions to their encounters with Jesus through their service to others. Gonzaga’s service program is firmly rooted in the values of social justice and generosity. The culture of service at Gonzaga is an important part of a student’s education at Gonzaga. Indeed, that culture of service to the poor and marginalized helps to transform each Gonzaga student into becoming a “Man for Others.”

Sister Seton Talks about Service Projects

Overview of Service Projects

Apopka, Florida

During spring break of junior year, a group of students travel to the town of Apopka in Central Florida to live and work with a migrant farming community.

Camden, New Jersey

Students spend one week following their junior year at Camden’s Oscar Romero Center. They experience urban poverty in new ways by living more simply and helping the city’s social service agencies.

Campus Kitchen

In January 2006, Gonzaga proudly launched the first high school chapter of the Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization dedicated to feeding those in need. Our Campus Kitchen collects unused food from the school cafeteria, local restaurants and businesses and working with DC Central Kitchen and Gonzaga’s own McKenna Center, students then use these donations to prepare and deliver meals to elderly and low-income residents in our neighborhood. The program operates year- round during four afternoons each week and is open to all Gonzaga students.

Dominican Republic

Following junior year, a group of students spend two weeks of their summer living with families in a Dominican village, constructing sanitation facilities and experiencing a very different culture.

Food & Friends

Each Monday, juniors spend their lunch periods delivering hot lunches and groceries to the doors of homebound neighbors who suffer from HIV/AIDS, and other terminal illnesses. The purpose of this program is for the students to offer nourishment and a smile to the homebound, who are not able to interact personally with many other people.

Emmitsburg, Maryland

Each summer, Gonzaga juniors, as rising senior leaders, together with a number of sophmores and freshmen volunteer their time for the poor and elderly while living at the Bellarmine Retreat Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The volunteers chop wood, mow lawns and perform general maintenance and landscape work for the disadvantaged citizens in and around the Emmitsburg area.

GRACE – Red Cloud

Following junior year, students may participate in either of two week- long trips to South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. Volunteers learn about the Lakota culture while working with the Red Cloud Indian School and assisting nearby families.

McKenna Center

The McKenna Center is the extensive parish outreach operation of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church, located next to our school. The program is named for Fr. Horace McKenna, a Jesuit who lived at Gonzaga. Nearly every day of the school year, students volunteer to provide breakfast and lunch to the homeless served by the McKenna Center. Typically, upperclassmen help out with breakfast, while underclassmen volunteer for lunch shifts, guided by senior leaders.

McKenna’s Wagon

Every Wednesday evening, three sophomores, one senior and one faculty member volunteer on McKenna’s Wagon a soup kitchen on wheels named for Gonzaga’s own Fr. Horace McKenna and operated by Martha’s Table. They stop in two parks in downtown Washington and serve soup and sandwiches to over 100 homeless people. Students receive an opportunity to relate directly with the hungry and the homeless of Washington, DC.

New Orlean, Louisiana

One of the latest initiatives and in response to the continuing cry for assistance from the communities affected by Katrina, rising seniors travel to New Orleans’ St. Bernard Parish where they assist in the rebuilding of lives and the reconstruction of homes.

WJA Chess Club

Every Week, Gonzaga students visit the Washington Jesuit Academy, a Washington middle-school for boys from low income communities in grade 5 through 8, to moderate their chess club, play chess and connect with the boys.

S.O.M.E. – So Others Might Eat

Each Thursday of the school year, a group of eight seniors work at SOME, just up the road from Gonzaga. They help serve and clean up breakfast (400 meals) and lunch (500 meals) for needy people of our city. In addition, seniors represent political, municipal, and governmental interests in a mock town meeting about issues of homelessness and low-income housing. Students consider issues of homelessness while serving food to the people of Washington who would otherwise go hungry.

Ecuador

In 2011, the Ecuador service project was begun. Gonzaga students and two chaperones traveled to the capital city of Quito. They served in the Working Boys Center, which was created by Padre Juan, S.J. in 1964. The center helps working boys and their families in teaching them trades, providing education, financial assistance and free clinics.

It serves over 400 families annually and is known throughout South America. The Gonzaga students also helped tutor adults and the boys at the center.