What is the Immersion Program?
Prep's immersion program offers rising seniors the opportunity to grow in:
- Solidarity with the poor and marginalized
- An understanding of themselves that includes the other
- “A faith that does justice"
- A radical view of the gospel message of love through action
- An experience of being a man for and with others
Baltimore – June 6-10: Students will be introduced to, mentor, and interact with Grade 5 students at Saint Ignatius Loyola Academy for their annual summer day camp. The Academy traditionally serves underserved minorities from Baltimore City. During the 5-day trip, Prep students, amongst other engaging activities, will assist school staff with camp operations, prepare meals for nearby homeless shelters, and get a glimpse of daily life with the students. As of now, students will need to arrive at Saint Ignatius between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m. Students will be able to depart for home around 4:00 p.m.
ESVA – June 5-10: Prep partners with Habitat for Humanity (HFH) on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Students will work with the local HFH affiliate in two of the most economically challenged counties in Virginia, as they build simple and affordable homes for local families. By working with this under-served community, the students will genuinely engage with those in rural America that yearn to break the cycle of poverty and build a new future.
Encuentro – July 17-24: Located in the border region of El Paso, Texas, the Encuentro Project is a collaborative project that involves the Jesuits, Marist Brothers, Sisters of St. Francis and the Holy Family in the El Paso community. During our immersion week in El Paso, students will provide direct services in shelters and/or parishes to vulnerable migrants who have just arrived to the United States. Additionally, students will also participate in workshops with community organizers, border patrol agents, and attorneys that offer a comprehensive look at the social and legal aspects of the immigration issue. We will also consider the migrant/border realities through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching in discussions and reflection.
Flathead – July 1-7: Prep will partner with the Jesuit community that serves the Flathead Reservation. We will be stationed at the Saint Ignatius Mission Church in Saint Ignatius, Montana. During our visit we will engage in conversations about Native American history in the region and the role that the Jesuits played in that history. We will meet various members of the Native American community and engage them in conversation about their culture, traditions, history and challenges. We will have trips to various museums that show the rich history of the region. Prep will also have the opportunity to visit Glacier National park where we will discuss issues of environmental justice, mainly climate change and its effect on glaciers at the park. After this immersion trip the students should have a deeper understanding of life as a Native American in the United States as well as the effects of global warming at Glacier National Park.
Ivanhoe – June 19-25: Ivanhoe is a small town of about 600 aging residents in the economically- depressed Appalachian region of southwest Virginia. It is approximately 6 hours away from DC, just off Route 81. Ivanhoe, once a prosperous manufacturing town, has very high unemployment and has never quite been the same since a Union Carbide plant left the town and took many jobs with it. By the 1980s the last of the mineral companies closed and the local economy was decimated. Through the work of Phyllis and Danny Alley and the Ivanhoe Civic League, the residents of Ivanhoe refuse to allow their town to die.
Los Angeles Urban Plunge – June 19-25 and June 26-July 1: Following in the footsteps of Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., students will encounter the marginalized all across the Los Angeles landscape, and the Dolores Mission Church community -- where Fr. Boyle had once been pastor -- will serve as an anchor for our experience. Over the course of the week, students will visit and learn about Homeboy Industries, which serves the formerly gang-affiliated; plan, prepare, and serve a meal to those experiencing homelessness within the Dolores Mission Church Community; and will encounter and serve those on the margins at Covenant House, ARC, and a variety of other partnering organizations. Ignatian spirituality will guide our reflections and discussions as we consider the complicated landscape of the poor and marginalized of East L.A.
Pine Ridge – June 12-18: History refers to Lakota people as the Sioux, yet the people refer to themselves as the Lakota Nation. The Pine Ridge Immersion trip historically takes place within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where a respectful and generous people have been forced to live on land that is not conducive to farming, ranching or industry. Pine Ridge Reservation is considered one of the poorest counties in the U.S., and yet, the Lakota people continue to build their culture and teach their rituals and language against tremendous odds. During this immersion, students will hear from various Lakota tribe members on the reservation to gain insight into what life is like there today, the challenges, the joys, and the history. We will listen and learn from the Lakota experience. We will also hear from the Jesuits living there and from teachers at Red Cloud Indian School - the only Native/Jesuit high school in the U.S. After listening to the Lakota experience, we will discern how best to respond to the needs and desires of the Lakota people going forward. We will come to understand their core spiritual world-view which is summed up in the Lakota phrase - Mitakuye Oyasin - which translates "All my relations." Finally, we hope to plan an Assembly for the school during Native American Heritage month in November to bring the story of the Lakota people and the Pine Ridge Immersion to the Georgetown Prep community.