Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus said: “Today our prime educational objective must be to form men [and women] for others; men [and women] who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ - for the God-man who lived and died for all the world; men [and women] who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men [and women] completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.” As a Jesuit school forming men and women with and for others, here at Regis Jesuit we see a need and desire for student development in this area as well as the opportunity to formally facilitate it.
In order to fully engage in our mission and with this challenge we offer our students the opportunity to participate in a Homeless Plunge Retreat. The event is a collaborative event from the Diversity, Service, Activities and Pastoral Departments from both the Boys and the Girls Divisions that engages the students in an overnight, interactive and reflective homelessness and poverty simulation. Surrounding the Plunge itself are a greater set of programs before and after that will assist the entire student body in wrestling with what it means to, as Jesus calls us in Mathew 25, “love the least of their neighbors.” Students will engage in issues concerning access to food, shelter and companionship.
The Homeless Plunge Retreat is completely optional. It does not take the place of required retreats, service hours, or any other activity. All student participants will be responsible for attending classes the following day, with all academic work complete and no excuses from quizzes or tests. We hope that the students who participate in the Homeless Plunge Retreat share intimately the experience of homeless teenagers who struggle to attend high school.
Over the years, we have paired with many organizations such as St. Francis Center, Urban Peak, The Denver Voice, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Dry Bones, Samaritan House, The Rescue Mission, MHCD (Mental Health Corporation of Denver), and Earthinks as well as St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church.
The Plunge is open to students of all grade levels from the Boys Division and Girls Division and assisted by faculty members from both divisions.
We find it extremely important to our mission as a Jesuit, Catholic institution to raise awareness for all of our students, not just those drawn to participate in the Plunge. As Pope Francis challenges us: “At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.” In our mission to indeed deal with this problem, every student, regardless of whether they join us on the Plunge or not, will participate in an educational activity during an Academy Period before the Plunge in order to raise their awareness and understanding of the issues of homelessness. Please take a moment to explore our partners’ websites so you can continue the conversation with your child: St. Francis Center, Dry Bones, Samaritan House, The Rescue Mission, MHCD, Earthlinks, Urban Peak, and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
We are very excited to offer this unique experience to our students, and we look forward to continuing to serve and educate our students in the Ignatian model.
Important Dates for the 2015 Homeless Plunge
Student Informational Meeting to inform students of what the Plunge is
-Tuesday, October 6 at Lunch in the BD HUB (Boys Division across from the Admissions office)
Participant Permission Slips Due
-Friday, October 16
Required Student Preparation Meetings
-Friday, October 16 at Lunch in the Girls Division room 127
Speaker from Denver Mental Health Services to speak to the students embarking on the plunge
Who are the homeless? Why are they homeless? What keeps them homeless?
Logistical information about the plunge for the next day
Thursday October 15 Activities
-Advisement Speaker for the student body (separate Boys and Girls Division speakers)
What does it mean to be homeless? Who are the homeless? What is their story?
Tuesday October 20-21 Activities
From 10:00 am to 7:00 am
Thursday October 23 Activities
-Advisement Debrief and Follow up Questions
Students will have a dialogue with each other and faculty members about the events of the past week
If you have any questions for the 2015 Homeless Plunge, please contact Ms. Christina Vela, or Ms. Emily Glenn.
"It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as God's will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe you, try to share some of their poverty, and see if you can accept it as God's will yourself.” ~ Thomas Merton O.C.S.O. ~