Gonzaga Students Show It’s All About Building Relationships

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Each June, students from Gonzaga High School in D.C. travel to Emmitsburg to provide their services to our community. Seton Center matches the students with neighbors/businesses in need of assistance. Projects are varied and this included activities such as weeding gardens, cleaning out gutters, and mending fences. They also assisted local organization like the Town of Emmitsburg and the Graceham Moravian Church’s Angie’s on the Bend ministry for women in need of safe, affordable housing.

Seton Center is honored to create partnerships between Gonzaga High School and local residents who provide projects for students while they are here on mission journeys.

One local resident wrote to us saying, “I am so grateful for the 5 Gonzaga students you sent to me with their teacher. All were so organized, polite and helpful. They did a lot of inside and outside work for me. They are wonderful. God bless you.” Others have called or stopped by to rave about the students’ excellent work and character, and the burdens they helped to lift.

The students demonstrated what we’ve always known – volunteerism is all about building relationships.

Certainly it’s about giving of your time and treasures, too. And giving back in gratitude for all that you, yourself, have been privileged to receive. But at the very core of it are the relationships we build, the partnerships created when someone steps forward and says, “I want to help!” It’s these strong bonds that people remember and appreciate. Not only the recipients of a volunteer’s gifts, but the volunteer themselves.

As part of the Gonzaga students’ service, our Outreach staff also provided a hands-on learning presentation in the form of a Chutes-and-Ladders-style game. The objective was for the students to experience a day in the life of those we serve. Just as in real life, students had to strategize and prioritize. It was a simple, but effective, way to put them into the shoes of neighbors struggling with poverty. For many of these teens, poverty is an abstract concept and it’s difficult to build a partnership with the people you serve when you can’t understand where they come from.

With this year’s service behind them, the students can go forth knowing they did more than simply mow a lawn or hang up signs. They built relationships and forged a connection with a community that won’t soon forget them.