Students and staff volunteer in East L.A. after spring semester.

Twelve students and two staff members traveled to East Los Angeles the week following commencement for a Campus Ministry S.O.U.L. immersion program with the Dolores Mission. This neighborhood Jesuit Catholic parish has grown to encompass a variety of ministries, including a K-8 school, after-school programs, homeless shelter, bilingual church, immersion program, and more.

Our group visited a wide variety of organizations that work predominantly in restorative justice for gang members, homeless individuals, and formerly incarcerated individuals. These included Homeboy Industries, Union Rescue Mission, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. Many of our students had read Tattoos on the Heart, Father Greg Boyle’s stories of L.A. gang members, and while visiting Homeboy Industries (Father Greg’s organization) these stories came to life.

In addition to being immersed in the mostly Latino community of East L.A., students served in the Dolores Mission School, prepared and served meals at Union Rescue Mission, and volunteered with after-school programs. Some of the most impactful moments were three “homestay” nights, where students were divided into small groups and welcomed into the homes of families within the Dolores Mission community.

Read student blogs about their experiences online.