Helias Catholic High School is planning its first international mission trip in close to a decade.
For the approximately 19 students expected to participate next June, it will be an experience likely filled with an array of emotions, but one they never will forget.
The school plans to visit Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. The Caribbean country has about 11 million people and a per capita gross domestic product of about $1,200.
It's still recovering from a 2010 earthquake, faces corruption within its government, and has limited opportunities for education and jobs.
This is no vacation destination. But that's not why they're going. They're going to serve their fellow man and spread God's word. Because of its struggles, Haiti is an ideal country for that.
"I know these experiences have the opportunity to transform us," Maureen Quinn, Helias campus minister and theology teacher, said in a Wednesday News Tribune story. "To see God in each of these people and have a desire to serve all people, no matter their circumstances, no matter where they're at," she added, "you don't need to go to Haiti to volunteer, but there is a need there."
We're glad the school is prioritizing safety. Crime, especially violent crime, is significantly higher in Haiti than the United States. According to NationMaster.com, the murder rate alone is six times what it is in the U.S.
Quinn said there will be constant security for the students and six or seven adults on the trip. The group will avoid more dangerous areas such as Port-au-Prince and will work in a mountainous area.
There, the missionaries will visit the sick and home-bound, hike to villages to visit and assist those in poverty and help in the Ezekial House, a catechesis and crafts program for children.
Each member of the group will pay about $2,000 to go on the trip.
A big part of the mission at Helias is service. We're delighted to see the school again is hosting a trip abroad to serve some of the neediest people in the world.