MMC Students Volunteer with Catholic Charities of Texas for Annual Winter Service Project

Fulfilling Mount Marty College’s Benedictine mission to “prepare students for a contemporary world of work, service to the human community and personal growth,” service trips aim to offer students a broader sense of community that extends beyond the MMC campus. During the recent winter break, 11 Mount Marty College (MMC) students and the Campus Ministry team of Sr. Maribeth Wentzlaff and Jordan Foos traveled to Dallas for a service trip under the auspices of Catholic Charities of Texas.

While there, the MMC team participated in several projects, including organizing Catholic Charity’s immigrant and refuge donation center, aiding the adoption and pregnancy center and assisting with office work. The group spent time at the Brady Center, a senior city center near downtown Dallas, and packed food at the North Texas Food Bank warehouse. The final day was spent organizing a children’s library at the Santa Clara Community Center, a location where non-English speakers take ESL courses while having childcare provided.

Previous MMC service trips have taken students to Kentucky, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida.

This was the second MMC service trip for Abby Keffeler, a junior graphic design major.

“It was all really rewarding for me, but being able to interact with some of the senior citizens was a highlight,” she says. “A lot of them were immigrants or refugees from other countries, so just getting the chance to sit with them and hear about their stories and their lives since they’ve been in America was really cool.”

In addition to their service work experiences, students also enjoyed a couple days of learning excursions. On the way to Texas, the group stopped at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, site of the Oklahoma City bombing. In Dallas, they visited the Texas School Book Depository Museum, site of the J.F.K. assassination; the Dallas World Aquarium; Freedmen's Cemetery; and the Six Falls Over Dallas amusement park. They also met with the Dallas Police Department, who spoke of the police shootings on July 8, 2016, and shared insights about Dallas regarding aspects such as race, poverty and immigration.

“These winter break service trips are about more than just service to others,” says Foos, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry. “They are meant to give students a cultural and education experience about life in various parts of our country.”

“It was all really rewarding for me, but being able to interact with some of the senior citizens was a highlight,” she says. “A lot of them were immigrants or refugees from other countries, so just getting the chance to sit with them and hear about their stories and their lives since they’ve been in America was really cool.”

Gabe Goehring, a senior exercise wellness major, agrees.

“I enjoyed just being able to spend time with them and talk to them,” he says. “Some were refugees, some war veterans — hearing their stories was probably my favorite part of the whole trip.”

In addition to their service work experiences, students also enjoyed a couple days of learning excursions. On the way to Texas, the group stopped at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, site of the Oklahoma City bombing. In Dallas, they visited the Texas School Book Depository Museum, site of the J.F.K. assassination; the Dallas World Aquarium; Freedmen's Cemetery; and the Six Falls Over Dallas amusement park. They also met with the Dallas Police Department, who spoke of the police shootings on July 8, 2016, and shared insights about Dallas regarding aspects such as race, poverty and immigration.

“These winter break service trips are about more than just service to others,” says Foos, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry. “They are meant to give students a cultural and education experience about life in various parts of our country.”

To learn more about service and outreach opportunities at Mount Marty College, contact the Campus Ministry team at dept.campusministry@mtmc.edu or visit mtmc.edu/campus-life/campus-ministry