SJ students and teachers at the Romero Center

To lead is to serve: Global Encounter Camden

A group of students and teachers spent time getting to know the people of Camden, New Jersey over February break. 

Ten students and two teachers made the journey from Shrewsbury to the Romero Center in Camden during the week of their February vacation for an impactful week of service, prayer, and community-building. 

Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the country. As the group learned from their hosts, a period of rapid industrialization during the 1950s brought an influx of money to the city. Unfortunately, when the factories relocated or shut down, the employees had nowhere to go. Decades later, many of the current residents are second and third generation ‘Camdenites’ who are stuck in the cycle of poverty. 

The group's week of service included trips to a day care center, a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, a warehouse, and a nursing home. Seniors Kenny Gray and John Massarelli and juniors John Hayeck, Thomas Heath, Christian Jordan, SooYoung Kim, Scott Park, Evan Radovanic, Matthew Stansky, and Tyler St. Pierre were accompanied by English teacher William White ‘83 and history teacher Russell McClintock, along with groups from other schools, including several students from other Xaverian Brothers sponsored schools.

The goal of SJ Global Encounter trips is to encourage students act as witnesses to people and communities across the country and around the globe and to engage in ministries of service and presence. This popular program is meant to instill and inspire a love of service and committment to social justice, near and far. "Changing the world" for Saint John's students begins from within, and along with other local service opportunities, Global Encounter allows students the opportunity to learn that to lead is to serve.

Browse through more pictures of the 2016 Camden crew and the ministries they took part in during their week of service immersion, and learn more about Campus Ministry and past SJGE trips.

Hear real stories of students' and teachers' Global Encounter experiences in this video.