My Elms College

The student's-eye view of Elms College.

Walking with the People of Jamaica - Day #2

Today would be filled with lots of traveling and time accompanying the Jamaican people. I was anxious to see how the day would play out…would I recognize any people from the Balaclava nursing home we visited last year? Would the same Bosco boys I read endless books to still be a part of the program in Manchester?

We arrived at the Balaclava nursing home and much to my surprise, I immediately started recognizing a few men and women who were being taken care there just one year ago. It filled my heart that many were still thriving in spirit, though they are frail and unable to do a lot by themselves. As a group, we took the time to sit down and converse with these beautiful people. Their eyes were filled with such light and wisdom, in which many instilled within us through their storytelling. We then went on to shave the men’s faces, paint the women’s nails, and do whatever we could do help them be as comfortable as possible.

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There was one man I had met the year before that was still at this nursing home. His name was Horrace…the sweetest, most kind-hearted elderly man I came across in Jamaica.

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After our visit at Balaclava, we traveled to St. John Bosco Boy’s Home. This is a residential home for 160 boys, ranging from the ages of 6 to 18 years old. Unfortunately, the reasons in which most of the boys that come to this program are that they have been neglected and abandoned by their families, abused, or are extremely impoverished financially. At Bosco, these boys are, above all, taught to be disciplined young men with the structure they will need for their futures.

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- Sarah Sherry, Elementary Education/History - 2014

After a long day of traveling we began our first full day in Jamaica at Mary Help of Christian Home in Balaclava. Here we met the residents of the home, similar to a nursing home, and began our work of painting nails, shaving, and performing nail care. These simple, everyday tasks might seem mundane but from the smiles on all their faces it was evident that it meant a lot to them. As I painted on coats of pink polish I heard the stories of the women and told them about where I came from. It was here that I learned that sitting down and listening to one’s story can make a difference, especially to the gentleman who gladly shared with me his story of living in New York and later Florida before he came back to Jamaica. At the home were also children who were there to have Christian classes. They eagerly welcomed us with songs and hugs. I was lucky enough to not only have one, but three little girls all braid my hair at once. With my new “do” I was then ready to join them in playing tag . 

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The next stop we made that day was at the St. John Bosco Boys Home. This home in Dunsinane is a school for boys who are either orphans or who have gotten into trouble where they go to live and eventually learn a trade. When we got there the boys were outside playing and we joined them in “futbol”, basketball and other games. When their recess was over one resident of the home, Andrew, gave us a tour of their facilities, including the pig farm in the back that is a main source of their butcher department.

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- Delina DeVillier, Nursing - 2015

Elms College Student Nursing Association and Mercy Medical Center will host their annual spring blood drive. The Mercy Blood Mobile will be parked outside the Maguire Center on Thursday, March 27, from 11 AM to 4 PM. E-mail Meghan Sullivan at sullivanmeghan@student.elms.edu to schedule an appointment.

Elms College Student Nursing Association and Mercy Medical Center will host their annual spring blood drive. The Mercy Blood Mobile will be parked outside the Maguire Center on Thursday, March 27, from 11 AM to 4 PM. E-mail Meghan Sullivan at sullivanmeghan@student.elms.edu to schedule an appointment.

Welcome to Jamaica - Day #1

As we flew out Friday afternoon, I felt mixed emotions towards the upcoming week ahead. Anticipation, nervousness, excitement…This would be the second time I would be traveling to Jamaica for a service trip, during spring break. I had wished this week for months to come faster and, alas, it was here! We flew into Kingston that Friday night. Many of us were drained from a whole day of travel. We were greeted by some of the Passionist Volunteers (PVIs) - Katie, Kaylie, Lindsay, Krystyna, and Ellie. From the airport, we drove to Our Lady of Dunsinane, where we would be staying for the week. That night we ate pumpkin soup prepared by the cook Miss Anessa and settled into our rooms, where we all quickly fell fast asleep.

- Sarah Sherry, Elementary Education/History - 2014

Over 1,000 miles away from home is no indication of what a small world we live in. After traveling for nearly twelve hours we arrived at the airport ready to begin our journey. As we waited in line nervously preparing our way through customs we met a man who asked about our group and where we were from. After Eileen introduced us and told him where we came from he told us about his mother who went to an all girls school in that area. And with that the connection was made that the school his mother attended was indeed Elms and we met the family of an Elms alum all the way in Jamaica. The connection made amongst carry-ons, passports and tired travelers goes to show that, regardless of where we may be in life, there are always people similar to us and finding common ground can unite those around us. Elms College was fully present that night as we landed in Jamaica and set the tone as we settled into what we will call home for the next week.

- Delina DeVillier, Nursing - 2015

As our service trip comes to an end in Concordia, we come back home knowing that the people of Concordia have a special place in our hearts.

We bless all the people of Concordia with this Irish blessing.

May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam. May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!

Our service group at The local Dairy Queen after a week of service in Concordia!

At the national orphan train museum in Concordia, Kansas

Our service group went on a short adventure to the state of Nebraska! Then back to Kansas.

Concordia, Kansas

Concordia, Kansas: Our service is complete! The Concordia Youth Center “Club 81” is set for its first celebration tomorrow!!

Concordia, Kansas: Touring the beautiful grounds of the mother house!