The Villa Maria community began the new decade with a school-wide, 3-day service event called the Emmaus Experience. The program begins the new calendar year with meaningful service and social justice experiential learning for students, faculty and staff, enriching both the larger community and the Villa Maria community. Hands-on service activities are supported through prayer, education, discussion, and reflection.
Emmaus Day 1
On Monday, January 6, Emmaus began with on-campus speakers and service events. Dr. Vito Punzi, chemical engineering professor from Villanova University, spoke to the school about Catholic social teaching, and ways of integrating these principles into one’s life and work.
Marcy Carini, VMA ’18, spoke to students about her service work as a student leader at St. Joseph University. She told the students how she began her interest in service at Villa Maria, particularly on the trip to New Mexico. At college she was selected to be a student service leader, and has participated in service at SpArc Philadelphia, an non profit for people with intellectual disabilities, and Life After Life, a group that works with juveniles who have been released after receiving prison life sentences. “Service is about being part of something bigger than yourself,” Marcy told the students. She also noted that her experiences have taught her that, “We are not as different from people as we think that we are.”
In the afternoon, representatives from Project HOME spoke about the well-known Philadelphia-based organization that helps persons experiencing homelessness. Martin Wiley, Service Learning Program Coordinator, and Katie, a resident from Project HOME, described the activities of the group,m and Katie recounted her own struggles with addiction and homelessness, and the help that she has received — and given back — to Project HOME.
To close Emmaus Day 1, students gathered in the gym and cafetria to make sadndwiches that will be delievred to Proiject HOME and a food pantry.
Emmaus comprises off-campus service, on-campus projects, and a speakers program. Students travel to organizations including Project Home, IHM Family Literacy Center, Thorncroft Equestrian Center, Dunwoody, Bakers Industries, Habitat For Humanity Restore, St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter, and more. On campus, students will participate in a program of speakers, reflection, and service projects.