News Post

Students Participate in Alive in You Service Program

A group of St. Joseph’s Academy students traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to participate in the 2024 Alive in You service immersion program. The purpose of the experience, which prioritizes relational service, was to provide an encounter with Christ in the poor. Participants were immersed in prayer and the sacraments and were challenged to take what they learned and invest it in meeting the needs of the Baton Rouge community. The trip took place June 25-30. 

Trip chaperones were Valerie Brubaker, Andrea Matus and Dr. Ghedy Matus. 

“I loved having the study engaged in adoration, witness talks and daily mass,” Dr. Matus said. “The students’ reflections at night showed so much spiritual growth. I saw God’s presence in every second of this trip.”

Rising senior Haley Schnebelen said that she did gardening, cleaning, yardwork and fortifying hiking trails. She said the trip was a meaningful experience. “I think I’ll reflect on this trip with a sense of gratitude, whether it be gratefulness for being able to help people or just being grateful for having fun,” she said. “I felt God’s presence when I was gardening and pulling weeds because it reminded me that there are good and bad things and that there will always be someone who picks out the bad parts of your life. In this sense, it was us pulling the weeds out of the garden to make it beautiful. I think this reflects how God is always there to help us get rid of the bad things that impact our lives.”

Rising junior Bella Rice said she most enjoyed working on the hiking trails “because nature was beautiful. When I reflect on this mission trip, I feel at peace and satisfied with the work I accomplished and the people I helped. I felt God’s presence throughout the whole experience. He was always by my side helping me keep a positive attitude and accomplish the work that needed to be done.” 

Rising senior Kali Baker said she especially enjoyed the testimonial talks. “Hearing someone’s testimony is so moving for me,” she said. “The trip was not what I expected, it was better. I walked into it thinking that it was going to be primarily service work, but it truly was a balance of service to the dear neighbor and service to our own faith. I felt God’s presence by simply getting to help people and know I made an impact. When we made trails, specifically, I felt so close to God because I was in His creation, and I got to see it like I’d never seen it before.”

Rising senior Kadyn Massett said she particularly enjoyed the opportunity to help run the local water festival for children. “I loved being able to help the event run and also see how happy all the kids were,” she said. “When I reflect on the mission trip, I see lots of service that we were able to give to others, but I also see how we were able to grow as people ourselves and focus on the true meaning of things and how we are all one. I felt God’s presence during some of the talks we had, hearing more than 300 people singing and praising God during praise and worship time and also the gratitude we received from many of the people we helped.”

Rising senior Anna Camille deBlieux said helping with the water festival was a great opportunity to be fully immersed in the community. “We organized a dance party, and it was so much fun watching the kids let loose and dance with us,” she said. “I admired their ability to shamelessly dance like nobody was watching, and it inspired me to do the same. I had an amazing time. I was able to meet new people from all across the country and connect over our shared faith. It was so easy to see the presence of God in the people who run the organizations that we helped. Their passion for the service that they do was truly unmatched and inspiring to witness.”

Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Communications Director