Based on the philosophy of the Center for Community Action and Service Learning’s Mission:Possible (M:P), CCASL is introducing a new immersion program this upcoming January, called Justice in January. Justice In January provides a winter break immersion trip for Gonzaga University leaders and students where they can grow as individuals as they serve and give to others. Fostered in the Jesuit Philosophy of service, Justice in January strives to create awareness among student leaders of the significance of service in leadership with and for others. It is our goal that students involved will bring back to the Gonzaga campus an understanding of the lives of others far different from their own, which will draw us closer to comprehending both the possibilities and limitations of their own selves.
This January, three student leaders, nine participants, and staff advisor Luisa Gallagher will serve in Tacoma, Washington. The team will be living and working in the Hill-Top neighborhood. They will partner with the Guadalupe House, also known as the Tacoma Catholic Worker. While living in Jean’s House of Prayer, the team will be aiding the TCW in activities, working with homeless outreach, as well as working on a L’Arche Farm (with people with developmental disabilities).
Justice in January has three goals that are fostered around the Social Change Model of Leadership:
- That students will reflect and understand more about their personal values, beliefs and motives
- To provide students with the opportunity of common purpose and to build collaborative relationships
- To understand solidarity with the poor & explore how our lives can be lived on behalf of others
|(Left) Chelsea Hunt: Logistics Assistant, Nate Garberich, Lauren Mills, Connor Brenes, Luisa Gallagher: Faculty Advisor (Right)|
Service provides a powerful vehicle for developing student leadership capabilities in a collaborative environment. Under the Social Change Model, leadership is viewed as a process rather ran a position. The model emphasizes the need to understand self and others in an effort to effectively create community change. The model explicitly promotes the values of equity, social justice, self-knowledge, personal empowerment, collaborating, citizenship, and service. Under the umbrella of these values, the social change model provides students and student leaders the opportunity to examine within the levels of the individual, the group and the community/society.
Senior leader Nate Garberich said, “I like doing service because I find that it forces me to reflect on the reality of the human condition (basically we are all suffering in some way or another, and while that might sound quite negative, doing service further reminds me that humans are capable of coming together and transcending that suffering, turning it into something really powerful). I also like to serve because it humbles me and reminds me to be grateful for what I have. While service can be difficult (especially emotionally), I find that it is often super fun, giving me the chance to hear the stories of people who have had a completely different experience than I and also to hang out with peers.”
Senior Lauren Mills as well noted, that “Service means being one with those people you serve.” Lauren said, “It doesn’t make me a better person to do these things, it just means I can learn from those around me and the opportunity that service gives me.”
Nate said, “In my opinion the mission of Justice in January is to bring together a group of students who hold a variety of different leadership roles to spend a week doing service and reflecting on leadership. Our hope is to structure the week around the Social Change Model, which looks at the individual, the community, and the society as a whole. We hope participants will walk away more aware of their leadership style, more confident that they can ignite social change, and better able to work with other different leaders when back on campus.”
The Justice in January program will have the privilege to grow, learn, and initiate change in themselves and in the society that they are serving.