Mission trip inspires students to be selfless


Campers from the “Alive in You” mission trip pose for a photo while taking a break. They were working alongside an organization called “Friends with Refugees.”

Tara Routie, Staff Reporter

Summer is a time where students get to relax by the beach, hang out with friends, take a break from responsibilities and focus on themselves. However, senior Maria Puccio-Ball’s summer turned out to be the complete opposite.

Ball, along with 50 other teens, traveled to Atlanta, Ga, and attended the “Alive in You” mission trip. The focus of this visit was to participate in various activities from assisting the handicap to throwing dance parties for the local community.

“I always leave the week feeling refreshed and unexplainably happy,” Ball said. “The memories and people take me back there each summer.”

The “Alive in You” mission trip took place through the Most Precious Blood Catholic Church located in Oviedo, and strives to provide a balance of faith, service, education and fun. Rising freshmen through graduating seniors are eligible to attend, and campers learn to expand their spiritual relationship while helping out the local community alongside their peers.

“We spent three days at different worksites helping and serving the community in various ways,” Ball said. “Some of us worked with refugees, others with donation centers, and some with men and women at a handicap facility.”

Junior Abby Wilhelm tagged along as well, and loved the overall experience that shaped her into a new individual. Wilhelm enjoys the trip because of the time she got to spend with other teens that understand her and share her beliefs.

“I feel like I have grown as a person because of all the new people I got to meet and learn from,” Wilhelm said.

Both Ball and Wilhelm planned for the trip in advance by signing up through their church, knowing that they would be helping out a local community with expected activities such as holding mass, painting, and picking up trash. Senior Garrett O’Malley on the other hand, didn’t plan for the trip at all, but decided to go at the last minute.

“I wasn’t planning on going, but one day I got a call and there was an opening spot, so I went,” O’Malley said.

Although O’Malley wasn’t planning on taking a trip to Atlanta, the experience was worthwhile.

“I made some new friends and there were a bunch of team building activities, as well as lots of work for the people we were helping,” O’Malley said.

Whether the summer season is jam-packed with trips to the beach, or empty with nothing to do, set aside some time and take a mission trip to experience something unique.

“No matter where somebody is in the spiritual life, there is something for everybody to see and learn,” Ball said. “Everybody who goes takes something new home with them.”