Natchez Immersion Trip (Spring Break)
Natchez Service Immersion Spring Break Trip
For over 15 years, a group of Boston College students has traveled down to Natchez, Mississippi to work at Holy Family Early Learning Center. Holy Family School is the nation's oldest African American parochial school, but over the years has been struggling due to lack of funds. Mississippi public schools are some of the worst in this country, not providing the necessary resources or educational tools needed for a child's success. Many families choose to send their children to Holy Family to attend a school filled with effective, hard-working, and loving teachers dedicated to each student's academic success, all living by the school’s motto: Live so we can learn so we can love. However, this school that once help up to 12 grades, now only has the funds to barely stay afloat as an early learning center for 2 - 5 year old children.
Our goal each year is not only raise enough money to help Sister Bernadette, Sister Kathleen and the Holy Family School receive the resources like books and supplies that they need, but to also spend a week with the children, teachers and sisters of Holy Family School, as well as the community of Natchez, helping to aid this school and promote outside awareness throughout the community.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where is Holy Family Early Learning Center?
Holy Family Early Learning Center is located in Natchez, Mississippi, a town admired for its vibrant personality but whose blatant social and cultural injustices cannot be ignored.
What do trip members do while at Holy Family School?
The participants on this trip meet and interact with students, teachers, and administrators of the Holy Family Early Learning Center. While in Natchez, trip members will assess material needs to better supply the school, help improve the school’s physical condition by repairing buildings and beautifying the school’s grounds, make donations for student scholarships and work with the Holy Family School community with areas they identify as needing assistance. There are also chances to go into the classrooms, work alongside the teachers and students and teach your own lessons. In the past, BC students have taught informal lessons on Spanish, colors, various art projects and other lessons of interest.
What is service immersion?
By immersing ourselves in the town of Natchez, Mississippi, we are able to gain a better understanding of the community and its need. We, as volunteers, grow alongside those we are there to serve.
When does the trip leave?
Spring break (Saturday to Saturday). The dates of spring break vary each year.
How do we get there?
The entire group will fly to New Orleans, Louisiana. Once in New Orleans, we will rent vans and drive 4 hours up to Natchez, Mississippi.
Does the trip cost anything?
We ask for $100 from each member to cover part of the airfare. However, if money is ever a problem, this should not stop students from applying for the trip. Students are also asked to bring $50 to $100 down to Natchez for personal spending.
Where does the group stay? Are meals provided?
The group stays at a house owned by the Knights of Peter Claver, who are associated with the Holy Family Church. The home is right behind Holy Family School. Students are expected to bring sleeping bags and will be sharing rooms with the members of our group. The house has a dining area, living room, one and a half bathrooms and a small kitchen. Dinners are provided by members of the Holy Family School and Natchez community. However, our group provides our own breakfast and dinner each day. During travel, all food must be bought by the individual participant.
Each year, 20 students, along with 2 graduate assistants travel down to Natchez, Mississippi. Applications are handed out in mid-September and the group is chosen by early October each year.
Who leads the trip?
The trips are led by undergraduate students who have been on the trip in past years, accompanied by graduate assistants.
What are the yearly commitments?
After the group is chosen in October, group members are required to attend weekly meetings discussing various topics that they will encounter while in Natchez, Mississippi. Outside these weekly meetings, group members will plan, run and participate in various fundraisers to raise money for group travel expenses, as well as donations for Holy Family School student scholarships. Participation and attendance in weekly meetings and fundraisers are mandatory for all members of the trip.
How can I donate?
If you would like to make a donation, follow the link below. Any amount makes a huge difference to the Holy Family School.
Please feel free to contact the current leaders of the Natchez service trip at BCNatchez@gmail.com or Lindsey Itzkowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org at (617) 552-2123 with any further questions you may have!
Jocelyn Lividini, LSOE '15, with students from the Holy Family School.
Megan Doeg, LSOE '15, sharing some laughs with students in Natchez, Mississippi.