Dates: Spring Break 2020 (March 14-21)
Cost: $50 (plus spending money for souvenirs)
This immersion is provided at very low cost for selected students who will view it as an investment in themselves and in the NDC community. An application essay and pre-trip meetings are required for chosen participants. We are seeking students who are interested in living in a multi-racial community for a week, serving others, learning about Civil Rights history, and thinking about social justice issues relevant today in our country.
A 2018 report showed that Alabama is the country’s sixth-poorest state, with over 800,000 Alabamans living below the poverty line. Food insecurity is a big issue in the state, especially among children. The median household income for people of color in Alabama is significantly less than for white residents. However, the state is filled with a rich history of struggle and triumph, organizations working for positive change, beautiful parks, and great soul food!
We will spend most of our time in Montgomery, the capital of Alabama and the state’s second-largest city. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center for Civil Rights Movement events, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches. Montgomery has also been recognized nationally for its downtown revitalization. In Montgomery we will see the new Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice (opened in 2018) and the church where Martin Luther King, Jr. started as a pastor.
We also plan to spend a day in Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama, and a hub during the Civil Rights Movement. We will visit various attractions such as the Civil Rights Institute, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and a popular local lunch counter.
We partner with Resurrection Catholic Missions of the South in Montgomery. Their ministries include a vibrant African American Catholic church, a community school, and interfaith outreach services to the elderly. They have hosted many school groups for service and learning experiences. We are invited to worship with them on Sunday, and they will also host a dinner for us with local leaders connected to the Civil Rights Movement.
Service is an essential part of an Immersion Experience. We will be learning a lot about the Montgomery context, but we also want to share some of our skills and energy with our hosts. During the week we generally will spend the mornings volunteering in the community, interacting with children, doing yard work for the elderly, cleaning the church grounds, or other tasks as assigned.
Most afternoons will involve educational visits around the city (or perhaps in nearby places, such as Selma or Tuskegee). We will have a chance to learn about the history of this part of the country as well as experience what life is like today. Our evenings always end with reflection time together.
We stay in a former convent owned by Resurrection Catholic Church. Students will generally have a roommate and share a bathroom with others. All meals will be eaten together as a group: light breakfast, bagged lunch at our service site or out at a local restaurant, and dinner cooked by the group. All food costs are covered.
Transportation is provided by Notre Dame College. All participants must travel together in Notre Dame College certified vans. All transportation costs are covered.