The Good Counsel El Salvador trip is an international service/immersion trip that takes place each January and July. Students and faculty members travel to San Salvador, El Salvador and participate in Project FIAT. Through Project FIAT, students volunteer in the impoverished neighborhoods of San Salvador and provide much needed assistance to the community. Projects include building houses, visiting hospitals and orphanages, and working at daycare centers.
While service is a very valuable part of this trip, it is the people of El Salvador and the relationships established that really make it a truly rewarding experience. Students who volunteer will work, dine, converse, and feel a sense of solidarity with the people of El Salvador.
Students will receive service hours for the trip, but also are expected to participate in monthly meetings, fundraising, and team building exercises prior to departure. Applications for the 2016 Summer and 2017 January trip are to be completed by April 20th, 2016.
For students who are interested in applying for the 2016 Summer trip or the 2017 January trip they must have the following qualifications:
- Be a current junior at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School
- Attend one of the following information sessions on April 7th, April 11th, or April 12th at 3pm in room 309.
- Pick up an application at the information session and submit the application by April 20th
- Submit the application to Mr. Hanel on time
“You don’t change Haiti, Haiti changes you.” This quote from Brother Michael McCarthy is emblematic of the Haiti experience for members of the Good Counsel community.
Spending a week meeting and getting to know Haiti and its people is a life changing event. Students have described the trip as: ‘heartbreaking,” ” moving and beautiful,” ” humbling,” “eye-opening,” and “ heartwarming.” Encountering the loving and generous people of this small, often besieged country, makes an intense impact on a young persons life. Perhaps the most important take-away is the overwhelming awareness of how blessed we are in the US and how easy it is to take our abundance for granted.
At the conclusion of the trip, many students say “I wish we didn’t have to leave already,” or "I am definitely going to come back."
The Haiti Retreat and Mission trip is open to Juniors only with the application process beginning in May of Sophomore year.
For more information, contact: Tony Tamberino
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School offers an alternative spring break for students to work with the Habitat for Humanity. In 2014, Good Counsel had 18 students, three faculty/staff and two parent chaperones traveled to Charlottesville, VA to work with the Charlottesville chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Camp Holiday Trails.
Charlottesville Habitat is currently building a community that consists of multiple duplexes and a condo building. Each day, students worked with the Habitat staff on various projects. The students helped to create two stone pathways amongst a few already completed houses, they started sheet rocking and placed siding on a house to be completed in late May. They also got to help the office staff with their annual donor report mailings, babysit resident youth during a community meeting and take a tour of the next community Habitat will be building on. On the final day, GC students helped to organize Habitat’s store while another group prepared the community garden for the spring planting.
While some Good Counsel students helped Habitat for Humanity, other Good Counsel students traveled to Camp Holiday Trails, a summer camp that accommodates to children and families with various medical conditions (burn victims, cancer patients, etc.). These students helped get the camp one step closer to being ready to open in June. They cleaned the bunks, raked the grounds, cleared the trails and many other odds jobs that needed to be completed.
Haiti was an experience of a lifetime. The people we encountered truly changed our lives and have left a lasting impression on our hearts. Honestly, we have never felt happier or freer than we felt during those 8 amazing days in Haiti. We are so grateful to both Good Counsel and our sister school, the College of Saint Gabriel, for such an unbelievable experience. Whether it be our daily walks to the soccer field, visiting the sugar cane mill with the students, or just sitting on the roof just talking, each moment was meaningful. These moments touched us so deeply because we recognized that we were encountering God through the people met and the events we participated in.
- The 2017 Haiti Team