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Students Join Forces for Immersion Trip to Area Social Service Agencies

Students Join Forces for Immersion Trip to Area Social Service Agencies

Saint Ursula and Ursuline Academy students learn about the issues of poverty and homelessness

Cincinnati, Ohio – October 11, 2016
– While many students across the tri-state were enjoying pools and parks over the summer, 11 students from Saint Ursula Academy and Ursuline Academy were busy working with St. Vincent de Paul to better understand issues related to poverty and homelessness while collaborating with each other to discuss solutions for change. 

The students participated in the Inner City Urban Plunge through St. Vincent de Paul’s Ozanam Service Learning Center. The goal of the center is to raise awareness, encourage mutual respect and promote solutions that bring impactful and lasting change to our community. The trip encouraged students to step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in the community to learn from the people and situations they encountered each day. Students worked in food pantries, shared a meal with the homeless, talked to undocumented immigrants about the struggles they face on a daily basis, worked with underprivileged children in the inner-city, and visited several agencies that help the homeless with clean clothing, basic toiletries, and pre-employment training and job skills.

Over five days, the students toured the agencies that serve the impoverished in our city and learned from the people who benefit from those agencies. They were encouraged to see beyond the stereotype that is often not reality. One of the most impactful moments according to Saint Ursula Academy’s Caroline Karwisch ‘17 of Anderson Township was hearing the story of Melissa, a woman who had experienced homelessness. Her story allowed Caroline and her fellow students to see that there is a person and a story behind every nameless homeless person we pass on the street.

Said Caroline, “Everyone has dignity. We know that in our hearts, but it is important to live that out and treat everyone with respect. No matter what someone looks like, what they have done in the past, or what they have been through, they deserve to be treated with the same respect which you expect to be treated. This trip taught me not to feel bad for the gifts I have been given, but that I can use those gifts to help those that are less fortunate.”

Ursuline Academy student Anna Gebhardt ’18 of Deerfield Township was grateful for the opportunity to participate in this trip.

“The Urban Plunge mission trip was an experience that opened my eyes to real issues occurring in my own city, and helped me learn about the many organizations my community has that offer aid to those in need. I carry the lessons I learned through this trip with me every day, and am thankful for the friendships it has brought me,” said Gebhardt.

Many of the students who attended the trip have kindled a passion for helping those who are less fortunate. They are appreciative of all of the agencies who do so much to serve those in our community.

Our Daily Bread

Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center

Santa Maria

Hope Emergency Center

St. Vincent de Paul

Lord’s Gym

Venice on Vine

HELP program

Giving Fields

Freestore Foodbank

Students from both schools are planning Christmas toy drives later this year. Saint Ursula Academy will collect toys for St. Vincent de Paul, and Ursuline Academy will be collecting toys for the Hope Emergency Center, which was founded and is managed by the Ursuline Sisters of Brown County.

The Ozanam Service Learning Center offers several experiences throughout the year for students who are interested in learning more about the agencies. Through work of the center, St. Vincent de Paul, and many other organizations, the students who participated in this trip are empowered and encouraged to build a better world.

Saint Ursula Academy is a Catholic, college-preparatory, secondary school for young women known for academic excellence and rich tradition. Saint Ursula welcomes students from more than 90 grade schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. The campus, located at 1339 E. McMillan Street in East Walnut Hills has been the home of St. Ursula Academy and Convent since 1910. 86% of the Class of 2016 earned college scholarships totaling more than $22-million.

Ursuline Academy is an independent Catholic college-preparatory school for young women in grades 9 –12. Founded in 1896 in Cincinnati by the Ursulines of Brown County, St. Martin, Ohio, the school has been located at 5535 Pfeiffer Road, Blue Ash, Ohio since 1970.


Photo Caption: Students from Saint Ursula Academy and Ursuline Academy spent a week learning about social service agencies in the Cincinnati area. Monica Widmeyer ’18 (SUA) of Madeira, Lily Kurtz ’18 (SUA) of Union Township, Maggie Sattler ’18 (UA) of Liberty Township, Anna Gebhardt ‘18 (UA) of Deerfield Township, Audrey Felton ‘18(SUA) of Hyde Park, Maia Czarnecki ‘19 (UA) of Mason, Katie Nolan ‘17 (SUA) of Anderson Township, Mary Berding ‘17 (SUA) of Delhi, Caroline Karwisch ‘17 (SUA) of Anderson Township , Marina Lennartz ‘17 (UA) of Liberty Township, and Delaney Dannenburg ’18 (SUA) of Hyde Park