The service trip to Mexico is becoming an annual tradition. For six years, North Central students and staff have traveled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to serve at a daycare at Casa de los Angeles (home of the angels). For seven students and Professor of Computer Science Stephen Renk, the experience was hard but rewarding work.
A humble center, Casa de los Angeles provides a daycare, food bank, medical care and more for young children and their single mothers. North Central’s volunteers worked primarily in the daycare, caring for children ages 3 months to 4 years. “Each of our students had a classroom and helped teach the alphabet, manners and just care for the children’s needs, from diapering to potty training to feeding,” says Renk. “It was hard work for all of us and we were tired at the end of each day.”
By providing free daycare, the center makes it possible for single moms to work and support their children and save money to purchase land. For $500, the mothers are able to gain independence and buy a small plot of land, which is situated on a former city dump, and work toward getting materials to build a small shack.
This trip was Renk’s first service trip through the College. “The experience was a good way for me to grow personally and give back. I saw the goodwill of our students, and we all got to see the plight of a very poor area of the world firsthand. It makes you appreciate what you have.”
Chris Lamarca ’14 agrees. His first service trip as well, he said, “Going to Mexico opened my eyes to how privileged I am in the United States. Seeing those children live happily with the little they have illuminated me as to how materialistic and capitalist I can be, here, in this country.”
In Mexico July 1-9, the students (photo, from left) included graduating seniors Courtney Olsen and Whitney Rhew, Lamarca, and graduating seniors Megan Holland, Katie Jensen, Kat Hamilton and Jennie Baron.
Casa de Los Angeles was chosen as an official charity of the Bank of America 2011 Chicago Marathon Oct. 9. Visit marathon.casadelosangeles.org to learn more.
Photos by Chris Lamarca ’14