Spring Break Service Trip

Sunday March 25th-Saturday March 31st, 2018.

Every year during UMSL’s spring break we take a group of staff and students on a trip of service so that we can all better understand Christ’s call for us to serve the poor. Stay tuned for more information on our upcoming trip!



Every year, the Catholic Newman Center takes a Service Trip to broaden our horizons, open our eyes to the bigger community of those in need, and grow as people of God. The timing of the trip has varied over the years, sometimes occurring in May, January, or March See descriptions below or view pictures of our trips in the Photo Album.

March 26th-March 31st, 2017: Rural Appalachian Service Immersion

In the spring of 2017 we took a trip into the heart of the Appalachian Mountains to Richwood, West Virginia. Here we experienced the plight of rural poverty as we served in this community after it was damaged by severe flooding in the previous year. Our trip began at Wheeling Jesuit University where we were educated on the history of Appalachian poverty, especially as it pertains to coal mining. In Richwood, we joined a non-profit group, Hosanna Industries, to do home repair. There we directly experienced the despair of a community that lacked jobs, was a food desert, and had been flooded in 2016. The entire trip focused on bringing hope to the suffering while simultaneously seeing God in our neighbors.

March 30th-April 2nd, 2016: Urban Plunge STL

In 2016 we traveled right down the road—to north St. Louis city.  We spent 4 days living and working in the heart of St. Louis, exploring various topics of social justice, building relationships, and engaging in acts of service within this city we call home.  The overarching theme of the trip was the Jubilee Year of Mercy—how do we live Pope Francis’ call to mercy within our own city and struggles closest to home?  We touched on topics like poverty, housing, racism and segregation, homelessness and urban farming, among others.

July 12 – 19th, 2015:  Hand in Hand Ministries, Managua, Nicaragua

In the summer of 2015, the CNC took our first every international service trip.  We raised nearly $25,000, thanks to so many generous donors and friends.  The trip consisted of building a home for a local family and learning a lot about the local culture of Managua.  The 14 members of the trip had an experience that they won’t soon forget.

MARCH 23-29TH, 2014: JERUSALEM FARM Jerusalem Farm is a Catholic Intentional community located in Kansas City, Missouri, built on the four cornerstones of Prayer, Community, Service and Simplicity. We strive to transform our lives and those around us through service retreat experiences, sustainable living and home repair.

08,09,11, 13Bethlehem Farm, WV Bethlehem Farm is a Catholic home repair center located in Appalachia, and is the sister farm of Nazareth Farm and Jerusalem Farm. Their ministry, also based on the Gospels and the Catholic Social Teachings, is built on a life of centered on the cornerstones of prayer, community, service, simplicity, and an added one of sustainability. B-Farm (as we affectionately call it) responds to the needs of the local community and live in solidarity with the people they serve as both are led into a closer relationship with Christ. The core group of caregivers host volunteer groups who live the communal life while serving the local community by working with local organizations and individuals who request help.

04,05,06,07: Nazareth Farm , WV Nazareth Farm is a Catholic community of volunteers inspired by the Gospels and Social Teachings of the Church and focused on prayer, community, simplicity, and service.  They are devoted to developing relationships and eliminating sub-standard housing through home repair in rural West Virginia.  They provide a communal experience of Church as a center of action and prayer. Our very own graduate, Julie Schneider (class of ’07), had such powerful experiences at Naz Farm that she decided to give a year of her life in volunteer service there!

2010: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Pine Ridge South Dakota “Re-Member” is a non-profit organization on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, hosting more than 1200 volunteers at Pine Ridge each year for week-long service trips with an emphasis on cultural exchange. From 1980 to 2000, the counties that make up Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota comprised the poorest of our nation’s 3,143 counties. As of 2007 Pine Ridge has a per capita income of $4,000, 8 times the national rate of diabetes, twice the rate of heart disease, more than twice the national suicide rate, and 4 times the national rate of teenage suicide. Perhaps the most disturbing fact is that life expectancy on Pine Ridge is the lowest in the United States and the 2nd lowest in the Western Hemisphere; only Haiti has a lower rate. During the week, CNC students participated in various work projects across the Reservation, helping to rebuild relationships, homes, and lives, while learning about the Lakota tribe from the elders. We took 17 students, 3 vans and a lot of snacks for 8 days to serve!

2012: Habitat for Humanity New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) is a non-profit organization, incorporated in 1983 as an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1983 and averaged a building capacity of 10 homes per year until Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Post Katrina, New Orleans Habitat has built over 425 homes (as of June 30, 2011).  Habitat invites people from all faiths and walks of life to work together in partnership, building houses with families in need. New Orleans Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians’ Village is one of the most notable rebuilding projects in New Orleans.  The Village is home to 72 partner families in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans and is the home of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music. During the week, CNC students helped with the foundation and built the walls of a home. We took 18 students and learned about the culture of New Orleans through many experiences like a jazz concert and walking through the French Quarters.