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SJND Students Put “Faith in Action”
Alexia Aranda ’16 is a senior in SJND’s Faith in Action class. She has been using her gifts at the Oakland Catholic Worker, a House of Hospitality offering transitional housing to Latin American immigrants. The community center offers food, temporary shelter and other services to some of the neediest among us, based on the practice of solidarity with the poor and disenfranchised.
SJND added Faith in Action, a seminar course for seniors, to its curriculum last year. In this course, students take the initiative to research an issue of their choice and provide related direct service in the community. In Faith in Action, SJND students learn deeply about different meanings and levels of service, structural analysis, Catholic social thought and advocacy for justice. Faculty member Adam Chaffey teaches Faith in Action and acts as the Service Learning Coordinator, incorporating civic responsibility through service into the curriculum.
Alexia goes to Catholic Worker twice a week to teach English and support the Spanish-speakers in learning English as a second language. She believes that through access to ESL programs, the immigrant students will gain an advantage and chance to improve their lives and career prospects in the US.
Alexis has thoroughly enjoyed her time throughout her Faith in Action experience, not only teaching, but building relationships with the students in her class. She says, “I found that it wasn’t about teaching them English so they could get any job, but rather giving them the ability to get the job they aspire for.” Hearing her students’ stories has helped Alexia see the true value of using her gifts. The Oakland Catholic Worker was so impressed with Alexia’s dedication, that they have asked her to come back for second semester as a lead teacher for one of their classes.
The SJND community looks forward to hearing stories from Alexia’s service next semester.