???Life changing.??? That is the word most used to describe the Divine Savior Academy Cross Country team trip to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. The trip provided the team with the opportunity to train in a hot, humid climate with mountainous terrain, but more importantly, to share God???s word with the people of St. Lucia. The team members worked with a local congregation, Trinity Lutheran Church, to help run a Bible camp for children in preschool through 6th grade. Divine Savior students taught Bible stories, ran activities and crafts and led the participants in music.
Divine Savior Academy collected shoes during last school year and they were able to provide school and athletic shoes for over 100 people during a shoe drive held at the church.
The Cross Country team also worked with Divine Savior Art Teacher, Ana Alvarez, to paint a mural in the community around the church. The mural depicts the beauty of the island, the local architecture and Trinity Lutheran Church. Several church members also participated in the painting, which has been well received by people in the neighborhood.
???This trip was a life-changing experience,??? says Melanie Laete, Girls Cross Country Coach. ???We went there hoping to help the people in St. Lucia, but I think they helped us more than anything. The people there showed us unbelievable kindness and welcomed us into their truly supportive community.???
Freshman Regina Avendano agrees. ???This trip changed me. It showed me how much we have that we don???t always appreciate. The people of St. Lucia don???t have as much but they are strong in their faith and always happy.???
Last summer the school took a group to Peru, where they served as translators for organizations who send food, supplies and support to other countries.
Mission trips aren???t the only way that service is encouraged on Divine Savior???s campus. The Academy requires all students to have a certain number of volunteer hours in order to graduate. Students can earn these hours in a variety of ways, both on and off campus. Whether it???s helping new students acclimate to a new school or starting their own nonprofit, students are encouraged to give back to those near and far.
Divine Savior Academy hopes to make the St. Lucia trip an annual event.