Under the instruction of Kyle Lantz of the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) at ND, two UB scholars, Rebekah Amaya and Samantha Alcantara (alongside ND underclassmen) took a plunge…into the community. Annually, the CSC offers ND students the opportunity to engage in communities experiencing poverty. Known as the Urban Plunge, students are immersed in communities for days to address the challenges of poverty by volunteering alongside organizations and individuals who aim to eradicate this inequity. Leading up to and during this immersion, students examined the root causes of poverty in South Bend while focusing on areas of opportunity. After a full weekend of service and dialogue with local city representatives, students emerged with a new appreciation of life:
Seeing the community come together for the cleanup of the Near Northwest Neighborhood was my favorite part. I was able to see everyone work together and witness the amazing work done on houses in the community…The last event allowed me to interact with many who have been most affected by poverty and do not have the comfort of knowing where they are going to sleep or eat the next day. I am very grateful for this experience; it allowed me to realize privileges I often take for granted. - Adams HS sophomore, Samantha Alcantara
The definition of a plunge is: a jump or a dive quickly and energetically, and that is exactly what the Urban Plunge experience was. A conversation with 4th District Councilwoman, Mrs. Broden allowed us to connect disparities to the reality of the impoverished streets of the Near Northwest Neighborhood that we cleaned on Saturday. The community welcomed everyone and it was truly eye-opening to see members of the community with genuine, altruistic intentions. By far, the most impactful event was at the Our Lady of the Road Soup Kitchen where eating breakfast illuminated not only the economic disparities, but the social ones as well. It made me realize how privileged I am and how young people should become more involved in the community. It was an educational and edifying experience and I can say with certainty that anyone would benefit greatly from it. - Adams HS sophomore, Rebekah Amaya
A special thanks to Caroline Colella, ND freshman for her mentorship as well as, Alkeyna Aldridge and Kyle Lantz for the opportunity.