Our school heritage calls us to “Charity and Truth” and our Lasallian identity calls us to “enter to learn and leave to serve.” It is with these rooted principles and our desire to honor the Feast Day of St. John Baptist De La Salle that we introduce our first ever Lasallian Week of Service, the week of April 4th - 8th. Each year we will demonstrate our call to service through a variety of activities that highlight our commitment to “Charity and Truth."
This year marked the introduction of our L.I.V.E. (Lasallian Immersion and Volunteer Experience) program and we were excited to send a group of eight terrific seniors to attend an immersion experience in conjunction with the De La Salle Blackfeet school, located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana. Our goal with the L.I.V.E program, and our partnership with De La Salle Blackfeet School, is that our students will have gained more knowledge, understanding, and compassion for the world in which they live, while also gaining a desire to build a more inclusive community with a community that is different from their own.
Prior to the immersion experience our students met biweekly in the fall, and weekly in spring, to begin learning about things such as Native American culture, education, housing, government, politics, and more. They participated in numerous discussions and reflections to help them prepare for their immersion experience. While on the immersion experience, students worked with De La Salle Blackfeet School helping in classes with things such as tutoring, classroom instruction, and more; while taking field trips and meeting with various speakers, volunteers, and teachers throughout the week. It was in each conversation, reflection, and lesson that our students began to think, “now what? How can we share what we have learned?”
One goal of our L.I.V.E. program is to ensure that the experience does not end once we return to Resurrection; we want our students to carry their experience throughout their lives. To reach this goal, ask our students to ponder the question of “what is next, what more can I do?” Our hope is that their experience enriches our entire community and our call to be a more inclusive community. It is with this goal in mind, that the students who participated in the L.I.V.E program this year began a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) awareness campaign and donation drive in partnership with Blackfeet Boxing Club to be held over the Lasallian Week of Service.
When meeting with the immersion trip facilitators, the students made clear that what struck them the most during the experience was learning about the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Homicide is the third leading cause of death among 10-24 years of age and the fifth leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native women between 25-34 years of age; Indigenous Women are 10 times more likely to get murdered than other ethnicities. In 2016, there were a total of 5,712 missing and murdered indigenous women. Only 116 of these cases were included in the Department of Justices official missing persons list. Students were also surprised to learn that Cook County is home to over 40,000 indigenous Americans that represent over 140 different tribal affiliations. They were rightfully pained to discover that this was both a national and local issue.
For that reason, they felt called to raise awareness around this issue. As they developed a plan around how they could address MMIW, school leaders were moved by their commitment and motivation to do more. Knowing what we wanted our Lasallian Week of Service to represent, this felt like the perfect fit for this inaugural week. We are proud to say that the week’s focus will be centered around bringing awareness to this important issue.
The week will culminate on Friday, April 8th with a half-day committed towards action supporting the MMIW movement. Students will attend a school assembly where they will watch the ESPN+ documentary entitled Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible, listen to a student presentation, and then listen to a keynote speaker, before working on activities to bring awareness to MMIW.
To further support the work being done to combat this issue, we have decided to work with the boxing gym featured in Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible and are collecting items to support the gym on their behalf. Throughout the week, each grade level has been asked to bring in a specific item that we will then bundle together on Friday, April 8th to send to the gym. The gym has expressed extreme gratitude towards this generous gift and have invited our students to visit the gym during the immersion trip scheduled for the 2022-23 school year.
We are proud of the work that our students have done in preparation for the week and believe the activities they have planned will enrich our entire community. If you have any questions around either the L.I.V.E. program or the Lasallian Week of Service, please feel free to contact me at JLascon@reshs.org.
Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever!
Mr. Joe Lascon
Director of Mission and Ministry