Washington DC was the destination for a trip of a lifetime for Global Service Learning (GSL) students from Fort Hill College and St Colm’s High School. The visit was part of a Shared Education Programme, involving Education Authority Youth Service and Amizade, a non-profit making organisation and a leader in GSL based in US. Ten students from each school who, since November 2016, have met regularly on Thursday afternoons to discuss local and global issues, travelled together to the US capital in February and spent an action-packed week focusing their attentions on the issue of homelessness.
Together, the young people worked in service sites, such as DC Central Kitchen, Central Union Mission, Martha’s Table and Thrive DC helping to provide meals for DC’s many homeless people. An outreach lunch run in the city’s Franklin Park was particularly poignant as it gave opportunity to talk to some of the homeless and to appreciate how their life experiences had led to their unfortunate circumstances. The trip has galvanised their motivation to be more actively involved in their own communities; all are presently planning ways in which they can initiate social action for the benefit of others, starting with school-based food banks which will make donations to Storehouse, a local organisation that exists to encourage dignity and significance for those living in poverty.
Students also had some time to enjoy the sights such as the Washington monuments and the chance to peruse several of the Smithsonian museums. The Washington Wizards v Indiana Pacers basketball game at Verizon Center was something of a cultural highlight.
Helping to prepare meals at D C Central Kitchen
Setting up The Joyful Market run by Martha’s Table
Washington Wizards v Indiana Pacers game
Enjoying some “down-time” around the DC memorials
Central Union Mission – provides 175 beds for the homeless every night
Don from National Coalition for the Homeless, shares his life story
Students reflect and report back on their experiences in DC
a few more snaps: