Students Reflect on Summer Service Immersion
August 22, 2023
The Summer of 2023 featured two big service immersion trips for Academy men.
Six CBA students, along with Ms. Cathy Carroll and Mr. Chris Kirby, traveled down to Jonesville, Virginia to work with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) in late June. They were been tasked with building a new porch and staircase for a family of eight, gaining practical skills during this impactful experience.
The ASP is an organization that brings thousands of volunteers from around the country to rural Central Appalachia to critical repair homes for low-income families. It is a Christian ministry that is open to all, with the goal of making “warmer, safer and drier” homes for those who need them.
The mission of ASP is very similar to that of CBA and the Brothers of the Christian Schools in that these communities share the value of making all individuals feel accepted, support the fair and just treatment of people, and believe in serving those who are less fortunate.
“I really enjoy my time down in Virginia helping the people and communities of Lee County,” Steven Yurcisin ’25 said. “I find the work to be so rewarding and I learned more about my faith and how to be a better person from the people we serve. They are the most grateful and kind people, despite the situation they are in. I think everyone can learn a valuable life lesson about not taking everyday conveniences for granted.”
“At first, I was hesitant about going away from home for a service trip, especially to somewhere as distant as Jonesville, VA,” Landon Fulcher ’25 said. “However, despite my hesitation, I eventually decided to push aside my worries and go on the trip. Although the first day or so on the worksite went pretty slow, I began to develop relationships with not just my fellow students and volunteers, but with the children of the family we were assisting too. Overall, this experience led me to the realization that service is less of a sacrifice of my time to help someone in need and more of an opportunity to build relationships and spread love.”
In early August, six more Academy men traveled to Browning, Montana to assist at the De La Salle Blackfeet School. The group’s main focus was helping the school’s staff get the building ready to welcome students back for the new year.
Browning is the capital of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, home to 12,000 Blackfeet. The current community contains chronic unemployment, welfare dependency, poor housing, domestic violence, and addiction. The De La Salle Blackfeet School gives students in the community a holistic, Lasallian education, despite the conditions around them.
Although most kids my age want to spend the summer out and about with friends and having fun, I felt that it was necessary to dedicate a portion of my summer to those in need and that lack the resources we have in our daily lives,” Nicholas Haray ’25 said. “In the end, the trip was an eye-opening experience for me. Living on the reservation for a week, I was able to see the poor living conditions of the Native Americans and how they lacked so many daily necessities. Being able to help around the De La Salle school was the least I could do for them with all of the hardships they have faced throughout the years. I will never forget all of the amazing stories, school tasks, sunset walks, National Park visits, and most importantly the long-lasting bonds that I created with my brothers on this trip.”
“I volunteered for this service trip because I wanted to have an impact in a community outside of my own,” Luke Varricho ’24 said. “Originally, my intention was to take this opportunity to help the people on the reservation and the children attending the De La Salle Blackfeet School. However, upon completing the trip, it was clear that the experience and the people had an even bigger impact on me than I had on them. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve, and would encourage others to do the same. These immersion trips are truly CBA’s way of making an impact on the world around us.”