The Lasallian Immersion and Volunteer Experience (LIVE) gives La Salle students firsthand experience and knowledge of social justice issues through service. This service is done in partnership with local communities both internationally and in the U.S. Around 170 students participate in these programs every year, tallying over 15,000 hours of community service from Camden, New Jersey, to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to Nyeri, Kenya. The LIVE Programs give students the opportunity to specifically confront the challenges that different communities face on a day to day basis. Not only does a student walk away with a better understanding of the community itself, but also the social justice issues that affect that community. Students can apply for most of the programs in the fall semester and if interested, should pay close attention to announcements on the portal as well as flyers posted around campus. It is important to note that applications for both Project Haiti and the Freedom Project go live in March.
In the first two weeks of January 2019, myself and six other students will travel to Port-au-Prince, Haiti and reside with the Christian Brothers. While there, we will teach English in the Saint John Baptist De La Salle School in various grades, visit a neighboring orphanage, and learn more about Haitian culture as well as the effects that foreign aid has on the country. This will be my third time in Haiti and my second time through Project Haiti. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places in the world for a third time. La Salle’s Project Haiti has allowed me to not only learn about a community that will forever hold a place in my heart, but also about myself. Since coming home from Haiti, I have a completely new perspective on the world on a global scale as well as the world in my own backyard. Because of Project Haiti, I have a passion to educate others about the importance of social justice issues that cannot be simply solved in the span of a two-week trip. Social progresses can only be continued through advocating and educating people about your experiences. Every LIVE program that La Salle has to offer gives students an experience that they will remember for a lifetime.
Before departing, participants learn about the social justice issue the program focuses on to give a solid foundation. Participants then immerse themselves in the program by keeping an open mind and heart throughout their experience. Through working in partnership with the community, participants volunteer in a way that builds relationships and connections with people met on the program.
Finally, participants continue the work they started while they were away by educating others in their community. It is my hope that students across campus consider applying for one of these programs and have the same experience I did. If you are interested in learning more about Project Haiti please email me ([email protected]) or Tara Dugan ([email protected]) for more information! You can also watch a video from our 2018 trip here. If you want to learn more about any of the LIVE Programs offered at La Salle as well as the other Advocacy Groups and Outreach Programs, please click here.
“You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney Haiti, you will forever have a piece of my heart.