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Ignacio program recruits volunteers

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2012 09:03

Loyola students will be divulged into new cultures, bearing the elements and experiencing a whole new way of life in the name of service.

University Mission and Ministry is recruiting students for two winter Ignacio Volunteers programs: Belize Christmas Camp and Jamaica Winter Experience. Both programs will take place from Dec. 27 to Jan. 3, 2013.

Edwin Madera, coordinator of university programs, said that the Ignacio programs are in accordance with the Jesuit tradition of service, learning and embracing humanity. While they are not a vacation and are full of hard work, the trips are extremely rewarding, he said.

“Every student that has gone on the trips comes back with an appreciation for our lifestyles here in the United States, a sense of community with fellow team members and a sense of pride for living and serving as Jesuit men and women,” Madera said.

Applications are open to all freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are interested in participating in a service immersion program. Those interested can fill out an application available on the Mission and Ministry webpage, and an interview process will be scheduled shortly after all applications are received.

Once selected, volunteers will be required to attend a retreat at the beginning of fall semester as well as weekly instructional meetings to learn about the history and sensitivity toward the program’s host culture.

In Belize, eight to 10 volunteers will sleep on air mattresses in areas with no electricity or water. They will prepare daily lesson plans to teach English, math and arts and crafts. In Jamaica, the housing is “more urban” with bathrooms and bedrooms. Twelve volunteers will help to clean, garden and care for elders and children.

Cherie Lejeune, mass communication sophomore who attended the Belize Summer Camp in 2011, said that the trip not only has a huge impact on those being served but also on those serving.

“The experience I had in Belize has stuck with me for many months. The total immersion in another culture combined with the opportunity for service was something that deeply affected me,” she said.

Jennie Gutierrez can be reached at

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