Los Angeles, Skid Row Immersion
With over 5,000 people sleeping on the street every night within 4.3 square miles, the largest concentration of homeless in the US is in Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Many agencies, governmental and private, work to provide basic needs and services for the survival of Skid Row’s residents, but many still live in squalor unfamiliar to most developed countries. In the midst of such human suffering and misery, how can we find God? When service is ugly and not always met with gratitude, can we find the desire to serve as Christ called?
Students explore these spiritually challenging questions while living in the Cardinal Manning Center, a transitional shelter for men. Our days are spent serving alongside and living in community with the poor and homeless of Skid Row. We visit with government agencies working to address the challenges facing the homeless in LA County and take a tour of Skid Row with the LAPD. These opportunities provide students with the context to view their experience in the bigger picture of homelessness and the ways people are trying to solve it. We spend time with residents of some local transitional shelters, learning about their daily routines and struggles. Students also work alongside men from the Gateway program to prepare and serve over 3,000 meals in one day at the Union Rescue Mission, one of the nation’s most well-known and largest homeless outreach agencies.
- Explore what service is like beyond the “Jesuit experience” • Spend time serving the poor as Christ calls us to
- Spend time getting to know the Skid Row community and hearing their stories
- Learn about the history of homelessness in Los Angeles, what perpetuates it, and the solutions being tried to help change the city’s dynamic
- Deepen spiritual maturity in a challenging environment
WHO CAN ATTEND? Senior level students who are at least 17 years old by the date of travel may apply. This trip is ideal for students who:
- Actively participate in service with the poor or marginalized
- Would like to deepen their relationship with God through relationships with the poor
- Wonder how to find God in the messiness and at times ugliness of the human condition
IMPORTANT INFORMATION It is important to know the following information about our time in Los Angeles so you may better determine if you are well suited for a trip of this nature:
- Because of our accommodations, and reliance on the facilities, we may not be able to accommodate certain dietary needs.
- A moderate level of fitness is encouraged, we will be walking 3-5 miles a day
- We will be sleeping in close quarters on mattresses provided by the center.
- There will be pre and post trip meetings and a service opportunity when we return. Service credit will awarded once all post-trip meetings have been completed.
- Students may encounter rough language and difficult life. It is important that they be able to genuinely listen without acting offended or speaking in a similar manner.
- Every day is structured around intentional and meaningful dialog and reflection. It is important that you are open to having conversations and willing to share your faith experiences, insights, and challenges.
$600 program fee plus flights. Financial assistance is available regardless of whether applicants currently receive tuition assistance.