Goal III challenges us to embrace a social awareness that ignites action, and this call extends its reach beyond students to include all community members. This summer several Sacred Heart Greenwich faculty answered this call by immersing themselves into Network summer service projects, forging bonds with members of Sacred Heart schools across the country while also fulfilling their commitment to serve others.
Rooted in informed, active citizenship, Network summer service projects provide immersive learning experiences that deepen participants’ understanding of service and promote a critical analysis. For over three decades, the Network has sponsored summer service projects hosted by individual Sacred Heart schools across the United States and Canada. During these projects, students from around the Network come together to examine social justice issues and consider different world realities.
In July, third grade teacher, Beth Carlucci, traveled to Chicago to join the Network service program, “Committed to Creation,” as a chaperone. Alongside ten students, Mrs. Carlucci delved into the complexities of hunger, food deserts, and the role of urban gardens in addressing these needs. “I really wanted to understand food insecurity and look at the issue from all different angles,” said Mrs. Carlucci. “I was also curious to learn more about how better sustainability practices can alleviate the problem.”
Throughout her week in Chicago, Mrs. Carlucci and students visited urban gardens, volunteered in a food pantry, learned from guest speakers, and toured the campus of Loyola Chicago, where they discovered research happening on Loyola’s campus in the field of sustainability.
In one powerful experience, students were each given twenty dollars and charged with buying food to prepare a meal for a family of five. One group of students was sent to Aldi’s, a local grocery store, while others were directed to a nearby convenience store, and a third group shopped at Whole Foods. Comparing their purchases shed light on disparities in access to healthy food and purchasing power across different stores. “They saw what a challenge it can be to find and buy healthy food at reasonable prices,” said Mrs. Carlucci.
"Commitment to Creation,” is the latest of Mrs. Carlucci’s participation in the summer service projects. She has previously worked on Network projects in New Orleans and Uganda. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to contribute and to continue my learning,” she shared.
Meanwhile, back on our Greenwich campus, Chris Gerrity, Director of College Guidance, coordinated the Network summer service program “The Land of Which We Stand; An Examination of the Indigenous Experience.” Chaperoned by Danielle Adiletta, Upper School math teacher, this program fosters an understanding of the historical and societal influences which have shaped the experience of contemporary Indigenous people. Through guest speakers, field trips, film, readings, and hands-on activities, students studied the Indigenous condition from the early days of first contact with Europeans through the residential boarding school era and into the resulting calls to action for Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation. Speakers included Harlon Pruden, a member of the Cree Nation and child of a First Nations Canadian boarding school survivor. One student shared, “Harlan’s talk was fascinating and impactful. He spoke of ideas I haven’t heard before.”
The group also adventured off campus to the Institute for Native American Studies in Washington, CT and further afield to the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American in New York City. “At this point in the trip,” writes Ms. Gerrity, “the students were able to digest museum exhibits with a fresh understanding and perspective of their own. It was exciting to see the group approach hundreds of objects with a sense of recognition. Historical dots were being connected!”
Ms. Gerrity and Ms. Adiletta were joined by students from Sacred Heart Greenwich, in addition to new friends from the Academy of The Sacred Heart-Bloomfield Hills (MI), Convent of the Sacred Heart (NY), Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart (MA) and the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart (MD). “This group squared themselves behind Goal III with open minds and intelligent inquiry,” writes Ms. Gerrity. “They reflect all that is magical and special about the greater Sacred Heart community. It’s always a privilege to see the coming together of strangers that part as friends. Cor unum at work!”