How the St. Agnes Class of 2022 Spent the Summer in Service to Others
Between junior and senior year, St. Agnes students face a unique graduation requirement: 100 hours of community service. Of course, this changed slightly with Covid-19. Students were required to complete 50-60 hours of service instead. But the sentiment still remains. The idea is for students to become active members of their community and be immersed in a cause meaningful to them.
The cause I chose was food security and the dignity of workers, specifically female coffee farmers. I was lucky enough to complete my service project abroad in Costa Rica with Amigos de las Americas and Bean Voyage.
While in Costa Rica, I lived with 17 other students and 4 adult coordinators who facilitated the project. We spent a lot of time learning about Costa Rica. We took Spanish classes and toured eco-agricultural farms. But the most meaningful part of the trip was working at Döga. Döga is a coffee farm located near Santa Maria, Costa Rica, and it is run by an inspiring woman named Francini. With five other participants (Pablo Reyes, Maddie Blakley, Melina Bak, Aidan Lee, and Leo Gonzales) and our coordinator Cecilia, we helped with every step of the coffee process- from sorting coffee beans to roasting and packaging to planting the trees themselves.
Most St. Agnes students chose to complete their service projects a bit closer to home. My friends Kate Phillips, Noel Cardenas, and Marcia Mundy all worked at the Society of Vincent DePaul Resale Shop.
"It felt like the customers came to the shop more for the community rather than the shop," said Marcia Mundy. "Everyone I encountered was super nice."
All in all, every project was meaningful to everyone who participated, no matter which part of Catholic social teaching they may have chosen for their focus.
Although the 100-hour requirement seemed daunting to me since I first heard of it freshman year, I am so happy to have been able to complete it. It is not an overstatement to say that my time in Costa Rica completely changed my perspective on the world, and I know that my friends- both in Costa Rica and back home- had similar experiences with their service projects.
Through my service project, I know that I have made friends that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and made them while dedicating my time to a cause important to me. The requirement, although scary, has led me to one of the best decisions of my life, and I know that many other students feel the same way.
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