Prep Students Immerse Themselves in Service

Cole Hackman and Luke Whalon

Seattle Prep offers several immersion trips for students interested in serving with volunteer organizations. There is one domestic spring break immersion trip and one international summer immersion experience. Seattle Prep works independently with both Shirts Across America and Education Across Borders to send interested students on service trips along with students from other local high schools. The two trips often attract students interested in serving underprivileged communities and visiting new parts of the country or the world to enroll in these immersion experiences. 

Shirts Across America was created by high school and college students in Seattle to help move families home in New Orleans and Mississippi. The organization has worked on 200+ houses and sent over 4200 volunteers to the Gulf Coast area. Students volunteering with SAA work in unique neighborhoods in the greater New Orleans region and are assembled into separate groups designated to different job assignments. Building tasks depend on location, but students spend most of the trip assembling and building different parts of homes. Prep sends students on the trip annually during spring break alongside students from different Seattle high schools. Shirts Across America works with students from Bishop Blanchet High School, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Holy Names Academy, and O’Dea High School alongside Seattle Prep on the trip. 

The other immersion trip is Education Across Borders (EAB), an international program offered over summer break to incoming juniors and seniors. The EAB program is a 14-day experience in the Dominican Republic that includes a visit to a rural coffee farming village, relationship building with a Haitian community outside the city of Santiago, and building projects in these two communities. Typically, students homestay with a Dominican family and participates in hands-on service projects in about one or two communities. Additionally, students visit various communities and engage in prayer and reflection with local communities. One of the most remarkable experiences is with kids and encounters with peer-aged youth. Ultimately, this experience is holistic and wants to engage participants’ hands, heads, and hearts to transform others and themselves. Prep’s Spanish teacher Jose Martin described his experience on the trip as “profound, amazing for me, [and] very moving spiritually….” Martin is attending the Dominican Republic trip in June of 2023 and looks forward to taking new students on the trip. When asked what advice he would give to students debating attending the trip, Señor Martin emphasized how students should look at their intentions and ask themselves these questions: “Why the trip is important to you, is [your goal] to meet new people, is it to find new experiences, is it to serve others?”

Ultimately, these trips serve as opportunities for Prep students if they are willing to fully immerse themselves and commit to this selfless service. If you are interested in gaining more details or want to learn more about the experience as a whole that Prep offers, consider contacting Mr. Liu by email or reaching out to Education Across Borders or Shirts Across America.