Compassion: Only Thirty Minutes Away

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Breanne Oandasan

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Saints Abroad
May 14, 2019
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Compassion: Only Thirty Minutes Away

Xavier provides a plethora of options for students to participate in service. With each grade level possessing a unique requirement, every Saint fulfills the Grad at Grad of being Committed To Justice. The Junior class’s service encourages them to focus on connecting with the marginalized. This direction asks students to enlarge their volunteer time from work with family businesses and animal shelters to accompanying the disabled, ill, and homeless. Through this service experience, Juniors at Xavier often realize that the marginalized reside closer than they think.

Las Palmitas is one such service opportunity. Five Saints travel with a faculty driver to Las Palmitas Elementary School in Thermal. It is a thirty minute drive to the school where Xavier partners with the school’s after school program and provides tutoring services. The Las Palmitas students are primarily children of migrant workers. Most of their parents work late and Las Palmitas Elementary provides this after school program for students to finish homework, do crafts, or read. Without this program, many of the students would be unsupervised during the afternoon. The after school program offers peace of mind to the working parents.

Savanah Bogue, RenWeb photo.

Although Xavier students are providing a service, Saints also enjoy interacting with the kids. Savannah Bogue chose to participate with the Las Palmitas Service Opportunity to work with the kids. She explained, “I also wanted to work and help kids become the best they could be while helping them with homework and playing games.” Xavier travels to Las Palmitas once a week, usually on Thursdays. “We might just see it as a little thing, but every week they look forward to us being there” Bogue added.

The nature of the Las Palmitas Service Opportunity truly highlights the essence of standing in solidarity with the marginalized in the Coachella Valley. When most people call to mind the marginalized groups of communities, they think of the homeless, hungry, and disabled. The children of Las Palmitas serve as a different example. The energetic children that are eager to play and learn are similar to those at Sacred Heart or Washington Charter School, yet they live in different circumstances. Most children in the Palm Desert area get picked up right after school and have a parent to take care of them. The Juniors obtain a new perspective by driving just thirty minutes from Xavier. It is an experience not easily forgotten. 

Last year’s Junior class at a Las Palmitas trip

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