On March 3, 4, and 5, 12 sophomores and juniors traveled to Cincinnati as part of the Urban Plunge learning experience.
“Going into Urban Plunge, I was hoping just to help others and give my time to those less fortunate than me,” Megan Piatt ‘19 shared.
“I was hoping to just gain more knowledge about poverty,” added Katie Bardine ‘19. “I have never come face to face with it, and I knew that going on this retreat I would be. I really was looking forward to learning about different ways to serve those experiencing homelessness.”
Joseph Allaire ‘19 agreed, “When I signed up to go on Urban Plunge, I was hoping to gain a better understanding of the situation of poverty in our urban centers.”
During their weekend, the students not only volunteered but also participated in simulations such as the SNAP food challenge, where they had to make a meal to feed each person in their group for $5. Students also shared that one of their most memorable activities during the weekend were home visits.
“We were able to go inside the home of a person living in poverty," Emma Malone ‘19 said. "I was really stepping out of my comfort zone and trying to fully listen to our neighbor’s story.”
“My favorite activity from Urban Plunge was doing a home visit,” Alexandra Murray ‘19 confirmed. “During this we were able to go into the home of someone experiencing poverty and we then tried to help them in any way we could. This help came from clothing vouchers and furniture vouchers. I really just loved this because it gave us the ability to feel the emotions that go into the feeling of experiencing this time.
“Prior to these home visits, we did a simulation that allowed us to play the part of a person experiencing homelessness,” Murray continued. “I love that we did this because it allowed us to feel empathy for the actual situation. It was sad to walk away from the home visits knowing that this is not a simulation for these neighbors but rather their life.”
When thinking about the entire weekend experience, Malone said, “It was a life changing experience, and when I say, ‘life changing’ I mean it. It changed my perspective on the way I think, judge others and view society.”
“Urban Plunge was something that God called me to do, and throughout the whole experience the spirit of God was very strong throughout the whole group,” Piatt reflected. “This experience truly changed my perspective of not only the face of poverty, but my perspective of life as a whole. This experience was truly life changing, and I cannot thank the advisers and all of the people that made this experience a possibility enough. I am very ambitious about making a difference here in Dayton, and I believe that as a group, we are taking the necessary steps to make that happen.”
“I would really just love for people to know how effective this retreat is,” Murray responded. “I was expecting to do physical labor that would tire me out, however that was not the case. This brought me to a spiritual place that I did not know I could touch with strangers. I am incredibly grateful to be able to experience these things through my school, having these opportunities right in front of me makes it easy for me to get involved and make a difference in my community.
“I would just like to encourage people to, when they are near a person experiencing homelessness or poverty, do not look away because of the stereotype that they will just want money,” Murray continued. “I was graced with the ability to talk with some of these neighbors and I now know who are just like me, and that they just want human dignity because that’s what they deserve. So I greatly encourage you to, when you pass a stranger on the side of the street, do not look away as if they are not there but rather share a smile, say the words, ‘God loves you’ because sometimes these neighbors just need the reassurance that they deserve the life God has given them.”
Allaire added, “I am so grateful for having the opportunity to go on Urban Plunge and would highly recommend it to students in the future as a life changing experience.”
Bardine excitedly stated, “You have to go if you get the chance!”
Posted March 14, 2017