Junior Retreat: Addressing Homelessness Through Community (By Laura Litschi, Theology Chair)

"Housing will never solve homelessness, but community will." Juniors explored this belief that drives the mission of Mobile Loaves and Fishes' CommunityFirst! village on their class retreat on February 5.

Students spent the morning engaged in various projects led by employees and residents: tending the garden, cleaning out tiny homes to prepare for new residents, and neighborhood beautification (i.e., a lot of weeding!). Students came to appreciate all of the work that goes into preserving the beauty and functionality of CommunityFirst! and learned about life in the village from their guides.

In the afternoon, representatives from Catholic Charities led the students through a poverty simulation. Students were assigned characters and life circumstances and had to try to manage all of their responsibilities - rent, utilities, food, child care, etc. - for one month by making visits to the grocery store, pawn shop, quick cash, employment and social services offices, and so on. Throughout the day students were invited to deepen their sense of solidarity with those who have experienced homelessness and poverty. We look forward to repeating this day in April with the rest of the Junior class.