Assumption High School seniors used the internet to reach out to the needy in parts of the country and the world where they would normally travel as part of their ARISE program — Assumption Rocket Immersion Service Experience — this year.
Groups of students annually travel to Appalachia, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., New Mexico, Arizona, Central America and the Carribean to address the “critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: Earth, nonviolence, women, immigration and racism,” said a press release from the school.
Due to the pandemic this year, students took part in ARISE from their classrooms.
- Seniors wrote letters to members of the Sisters of Mercy who live in long-term care facilities in Nashville; Belmont, N.C.; Baltimore; and Cincinnati.
- Students involved with the sisters’ Mercy Justice Network met online with Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Yarmuth to discuss issues such as voter suppression, election reform and racism.
- Seniors worked with school children doing non-traditional learning in Nicaragua by leading virtual exercise sessions for them, exchanging letters and tutoring them in English and communication skills on the Zoom video conference platform.
- Students filmed a house blessing for families in Belize.
- And they collected materials to make blankets for individuals in Auxier, Ky.
Dr. Lisa Wieland, coordinator of the ARISE program, said in the release that the agencies the students usually serve were “thrilled” to hear from Assumption because they hadn’t had volunteers since the pandemic began.
“They had real needs that our students could meet” even working remotely, said Wieland. “I wanted to continue the relationships we have with our partner agencies and give the students the opportunity to explore the mission of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and of Assumption High School.”
Mary Ann Steutermann, director of campus ministry at Assumption, said, “We strive to teach our students that no matter what obstacles are in their path, there’s always a way to address them in a creative, constructive way.
“This couldn’t be more true with our ARISE program this year,” said Steutermann in the release. “We’re so grateful to our community partners who made it possible for our students to live the cornerstones of mission work — prayer, service, simplicity and community — even during a global pandemic.”