For nine young members of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church a mission trip to one of the most impoverished zip codes in America was an eye-opening experience.
The youths – Kaitlyn Keeler, Payton Glasgow, Logan Glasgow, Liz Caralampio, Amy Caralampio, Isela Ruiz-Reyes, Leslie Arriaga, Carlos Pacheco and Roberto Garcia – were gone for six days in June.
Chelle McCaskill, one of four adults on the trip, said the group attended a youth conference in Memphis, Tenn.
Part of the time was spent restocking classrooms at a small Catholic school that draws students from 10 different districts in the area.
The school and classrooms were in disarray because of COVID-19 closures and restrictions.
The group also spent two days working at the home of an elderly woman.
“They helped build fence and make repairs,” McCaskill said.
The pandemic also meant that there were more restrictions on the group.
In the past, the church’s youth have gone on mission trips to Puerto Rico where they helped with hurricane relief.
“It was a little different experience,” she said. “It was good for them to see there’s a lot of poverty (in the United States),” she said.
Although initially there were just supposed to be two adults accompanying the youth, there were actually four.
In addition to McCaskill, the adults included Daniel Chavez, Kevin Konrade and the Rev. John Peter Swaminathan, pastor.