Cprnwall Ontairo — Each year, students from the CDSBEO participate in various mission trip experiences to international destinations. This year, fifteen staff and students from the Cornwall area Catholic secondary schools (St. Matthew CSS, Holy Trinity CSS, and St. Joseph’s CSS) travelled to the Dominican Republic to carry out missionary work, and to gain a greater understanding of life in a developing nation, as well as to reach out in service to others.
Principal of Religious and Family Life Education, Jim Roberts, introduced the group of eleven students and four staff members who participated in this year’s trip, which was based at the NPH (Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos) Orphanage of Casa Santa Ana. The orphanage is home to over 250 orphaned, abandoned and/or at-risk children, ranging in age from newborns to young adults. Each participant gave their own account of their enriching experiences and discussed how the journey was an excellent opportunity to reach out and help those in need.
“We developed such a deep connection with the NPH family,” explained Deanna Fraser, a student from Holy Trinity CSS. “These children showed us that you must always have hope. Everything is, and will continue to be okay, because God has a plan.”
“One of the most memorable moments for me was the time spent at the baby house. The children would sit down, brush our hair, and play with our hair,” noted Emily Stang, a student from St. Joseph’s CSS. “The caretakers at the orphanage taught the children to share and appreciate each other. Because of NPH they were happy, and they were capable of loving and caring for complete strangers.”
Each of the participants had adopted a child for a year, prior to travelling to the orphanage. Fr. Jacques Labelle, who attended the trip as a chaperone, reflected on his experience, “I ate lunch each day with 18 boys, one of whom was my adopted child. Every day there was something new they wanted to show, something new they wanted to try. The experience allowed me to grow personally as a priest; it was an amazing opportunity to grow with them, and to learn with them.”
Gordie Van Putten, Chaplaincy Leader at Holy Trinity CSS and the trip’s lead organizer, and Angela Pilon, an Education Assistant at Holy Trinity, thanked the Board for their ongoing support of mission experiences, and presented to the Board a memento from the trip as a token of their appreciation.