Service is crucial to the Jesuit experience, and it helps students truly become “Men for Others.” The Total Ignatian Experience service program offers great opportunities for students and faculty members to drop everything and travel away for a week of service. The program includes trip to places such as Tennessee, Tijuana, and Guatemala, and rising sophomores have the opportunity to engage in a retreat-oriented service experience right here in Kansas City.
This past summer, 13 rising juniors and four faculty members took a trip down to Robbins, Tennessee as part of the TIE program. The group spent four days working with the Appalachia Habitat for Humanity program, helping to remodel a house. The group’s work included stripping off and replacing the siding on the outside of the house, replacing doors and window frames, and cleaning out and painting the interior of the house.
Reflections from the author Cody Metcalf – TIE Tennessee participant
We worked with three workers for Habitat for humanity-Steve, Scott, and Willis-and I’m completely serious when I say they were three of the nicest, friendliest guys I’ve ever gotten to know
Back at the lodge where we stayed, we had a few hours of free time each afternoon. We played a lot of cards and volleyball. Every night before we retired to bed, we spent about half an hour having a group reflection on the day, which I found very meaningful. Taking time to stop and think about the things and people we’ve encountered and how they have impacted us is very important, and I find it always relaxes me and makes me a deeper thinker.
We shared many meals together throughout the trip, with some of them being provided by the hospitable people of Robbins. One night, we ate dinner at the Habitat headquarters with the people who were benefiting from our service. Another night, a couple in the town invited all of us over to eat, fish, and play football. It was moving to see how much the people of Tennessee appreciate everyone who offers their service, and it is humbling to know that my work can really make a difference.
The TIE Tennessee trip was one of the best experiences I’ve had at Rockhurst, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone that has the opportunity to go this next summer. To top it all off, it is a great way to get service hours for sophomore and junior year requirements. I was hesitant go on the trip for a while because I did not want to take a week out of my summer, but trust me, it’s worth it. If you’re even thinking about going on a TIE trip, go for it and I do not think you will regret it.