JSerra Students Build Homes in Peru

By Ryer Baldridge

The morning of April 6, JSerra’s Peru Club departed from Los Angeles International Airport to Peru on its seventh annual missions trip. Each year, a large group of JSerra students head down to Piura, Peru to lend a   helpful hand.

This year, our JSerra mission’s team set a record of houses built with a whopping 14 homes. The Peru Club was also able to provide dozens of suitcases full of donations including clothes, shoes, sunglasses, and supplies.

The student’s journey to a private school, partly funded by JSerra, to help teach English, play with the students, and donate school supplies.

“It is the best feeling seeing how happy we make these families. That is the best reward of them all,” said a JSerra student.

Join the students next year as they head down to Peru to continue helping those in need.

For more information or to join the JSerra Peru Club, click here.

Peru Club President, Kyle Shackleford Shares JSerra Memories

by Kyle Shackleford, Peru Club President

For me, the Peru Trip was one of the most memorable experiences in my high school career. Every spring break, members of the Peru Club travel down to the city of Piura, Peru in order to work out of the local parish, Santisimo Sacramento, to help the local people in whichever way possible.

Kyle Shackleford, helping to build in Peru

During the week, the students partake in several charitable activities within the city. It’s amazing how much we accomplished this year! We built 13 houses for families who essentially didn’t have a home beforehand. We also had the opportunity – with the help of Dr. Heinrich, members of the Pre-Medical Professional Magnet Program, and translator Juan Gutierrez – to open up a free clinic and treat between 20-30 patients a day.

In addition to that we delivered food, clothes, and donations to dozens of families. We were so fortunate to have Fr. Damien with us this year as well! Every day, we had the chance to accompany him in giving communion to the sick and celebrating mass in the local villages. Students also had the chance to assist at the newly founded school that we helped build last year. We taught students English, started a children’s choir, and completed several murals and still-frames.

We visited the local girl’s orphanage, and also had the opportunity to have a movie and pizza night with them. The fact that we were able to accomplish all of this – and more – in such a short period of time was truly remarkable. Anyone who has experienced the Peru Trip will tell you how much of a memorable experience it was. It’s not necessarily the acts themselves of building houses or delivering donations or helping in a clinic that make this trip so memorable; in fact, it’s being a witness to the true love and gratitude these people show for their God and their neighbor despite their impoverished lifestyle. That’s what makes the true impact.

For pictures from the trip click here.

JSerra Students to Embark on 6th Annual Service Trip to Peru

By Mary Davidson

This coming spring marks the sixth time students from JSerra Catholic High School will be going to Peru to help Father Joe with his parish at Santisimo Sacramento Catholic Church. Father Joe, or Padre as the kids call him, is the Pastor of this church in the city of Piura, Peru. With over 60 percent of the 40,000 in Padre’s parish living in poverty, most in extreme conditions, our students are able to share their graces while assisting Padre in this humble work.

Padre is an American priest who attended Notre Dame and after graduation, spent time working with Mother Teresa. Eventually he ended up in Piura, in northwestern Peru, about 25 miles from the Pacific ocean. Padre has built dormitories on the grounds of his church for American missionaries to stay in while visiting this area. JSerra’s students are able to help these faithful, loving, and grateful people who were born into circumstances beyond their control. In turn, the Peruvian people are able to show these young students that with just faith, hope and love, they can lead happy, satisfying lives with few material possessions and without comforts such as electricity and running water.

About 25 students and at least 6 adults will travel to Peru at their own expense for a week-long Easter break that will involve lots of hard work and lots of enriching experiences. The work the students can choose from consists of some of the following: building bamboo homes, brick classrooms, neighborhood chapels, delivering food, beds, blankets and clothing, working with parish nurses at the hospice or visiting the home bound, visiting orphanages, and serving at the breakfast or lunch kitchens for the elderly. Many other activities fill the week including fiestas, taking local kids to the ocean and the movies, playing soccer, and helping in the schools.

JSerra is very proud of the connection we have built with Padre’s parish and with the important life lessons our students are learning. Our Mission Statement includes fostering a commitment to serve and through this wonderful ministry, we are fulfilling that mission.