Our website is made possible by displaying online ads to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our site.

Hands-on summer service trips

First slide

With many locations closed for hands-on service during the pandemic, students at St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly served in other ways last school year, including letter writing, collecting food and service projects that could be done from home.

This summer, campus ministry organized several service trips as more locations opened for in-person work.

“This is the first time we've done these kinds of organized trips during the summer,” said Mary Chris Beardsley, service coordinator. “With COVID-19, students couldn't do as much hands-on service, so when things were opening up a little, we wanted to offer these opportunities. Serving together helps grow friendships and creates a sense of community.”

In June and July, students participated in two trips to the Community Farm at Roundabout Meadows in Stone Ridge located in Loudoun County. Everything grown at the community farm is distributed to Loudoun Hunger Relief and supports food pantries in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. Students harvested beets, onions, tomatoes and summer squash, and helped wash and pack the items. During one trip, they harvested more than 400 pounds of food. 

“(The students) love it,” Beardsley said. “It's one of their favorite places to go. They see the work that they're doing and know the impact it's making. It's hard work, but they really like being there and knowing that what they're doing is going to an important cause and having a big impact on families.”

Another service trip was sorting clothes at Threads of Hope, a thrift store affiliated with Mobile Hope, an organization that supports homeless teenagers in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. 

“My favorite part of volunteering at Roundabout Meadows and Mobile Hope has been that it has allowed me to not only give back to the communities, but also see how Christ was working in every situation, even through small acts of service,” said senior Franny Noory. “Being involved in the PVI service trips has helped me truly see that Christ works in every moment.” 

In late July, a group of students went on a service trip to St. Dominic's Monastery in Linden. Students helped the sisters with yardwork and joined the sisters during their prayer time. 

“Helping out in the monasteries has given me a lot of peace,” said senior Stefan Santisi. “Not only do you help other people, but you are also helping yourself by giving time to just listening to what your mind says. Going out to the monastery gives you an escape from the busy world that I typically find myself in.”

In addition to the service trips organized through campus ministry, some incoming Panthers are giving back on their own. Incoming freshman Mischa Bowman reached out to a few other incoming ninth graders and organized a volunteering day. They spent the day helping at Kids R First, a charity that provides school supplies to needy children in Northern Virginia.

Service to others is an integral part of the PVI experience and the mission of the school.

“PVI has given me the opportunity of a lifetime to change my perspective on life, not just giving back,” said Santisi. “If you would have talked to me my freshman year, I probably would have never cared nor tried to do more for my community. Over time I learned that this community is my community, so I need to take care of it.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021