Eleven students and two faculty advisors from Gonzaga University’s Center for Community Action and Service Learning (CCASL) traveled from Spokane, Washington, to San Diego in early January and spent the week learning firsthand about a variety of outreach ministries to the poor and underserved in greater San Diego. As part of their five-day immersion experience, Gonzaga students spent a day at Nativity Prep, engaged in a number of activities in and out of the classroom. They worked one-on-one and in small groups with students, helping to tutor academic subjects, and they completed a number of projects to help clean and organize the classrooms and campus.
Gonzaga boasts one of the more active service-learning programs among the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. Among the variety of outreach and service-learning opportunities available for Gonzaga undergrads to get involved are a campus-based mentoring program called Campus Kids, a social outreach service for Spokane-area elementary and middle-school-aged students; and a series of weekly meals provided through the university’s Campus Kitchen, where any and all from the college community and the greater Spokane community are invited to come and enjoy a meal together.
Gonzaga’s CCASL program also provides two weeklong immersion programs for undergrads each year—Justice in January, its winter program, which is in its second year and currently serves two cities (San Diego and Tucson, Arizona); and Mission Possible, its spring program, which focuses on outreach to underserved populations in a number of U.S. cities, including Tacoma, Denver, Jonestown (MS), and Nashville.
True to the Jesuit motto of being “men and women for others,” these inspiring Zags are practicing their faith in the most important way—through service to others in need. We are grateful to Gonzaga’s hardworking students for making the trip to San Diego and for enriching the lives of our Nativity students for the weeks and months to come.