Service Learning Project
Recent News & Reflections
- 4 Inspirational Homes in Africa Where Catholic Sisters Are Supporting Those with Disabilities
- Service learning participant donates musical instruments to Ghanian children with special needs
- Volunteering in Ghana: An Unforgettable Experience
Building the next generation of leaders
Initiated in 2008, ASEC's Service Learning program enables students, faculty and sisters from ASEC charter institutions to travel to the African countries ASEC serves. Accompanied by mentors, U.S. participants are immersed in a wide range of service opportunities, serving side-by-side with Catholic sisters. Service trips are held annually each summer for a 2-3 week period. Every two years the host country rotates to a different country ASEC serves, increasing opportunities for varied cross-cultural exchange.
The program promotes global leadership, a key attribute in building the next generation of leaders as well as a strategy for sustainable growth in human development. ASEC Service Learning opportunities are intended to broaden the cultural perspectives and enrich the lives of those who serve and those who are served. Through these opportunities, participants engage in a mutual cultural exchange, deepening their understanding and appreciation of a culture different from their own.
Students participating in the Service Learning program are enrolled in one of ASEC’s charter institutions, all of which are Catholic universities and colleges. Spirituality and religion are embedded in their education and the Service Learning program also includes a spiritual/religious component. Prior to the trip, students complete a three credit course to prepare for the trip, meet other participants and learn more about the country they'll travel to.
ASEC alumnae (Catholic Sisters) and their congregations have the opportunity to participate in the ASEC Service Learning program as site hosts in selected nations where ASEC serves. Sisters who are selected as site hosts welcome Service Learning participants to serve in their ministries. The sisters’ presence also supports the spiritual focus of the Service Learning experience.
A Variety of Service Opportunities
Service opportunities for participants may include:
- working with orphans and vulnerable children
- assisting persons who are ill or who have developmental challenges
- tutoring students, especially in English
- agricultural work/gardening
- assisting staff in hospitals and/or health clinics, such as HIV/AIDS programs
- joining school students in extracurricular activities
- working with children who formerly lived on the streets in slum areas, and more
Service Learning Program Outcomes*
- Since 2008, 128 participants and mentors have participated in ASEC’s Service Learning program.
For more detailed information about our outcomes, please see our evaluation reports and presentations.
Service Learning Participant Testimonials
"My reaction to my Service Learning experience is one of utter gratitude. I am so grateful for Marywood, Chestnut Hill and ASEC staff, group leaders and the other participants of the trip for making it fun and never making me feel like an outsider as the only guy in our group. I will remember this experience for the rest of my life!" - Yerodin Lucas, Ghana 2019.
"I was catapulted out of my comfort zone” -Erin Bitting, Ghana 2019.
“[The trip was] extremely transformative and life-changing.” -Jaala Welch, Ghana 2019.
"This service trip to Kenya has opened my eyes to the tremendous impact that ASEC is having in Africa, and I am very proud that I was given a chance to support the work of this impressive organization. I hope that this is just the beginning of my opportunity to help ASEC continue their valuable work." -Jacqueline Reich, Service Learning Trip Mentor, Kenya 2017.
"Being involved in this trip taught me about the variety of adversity in our world and showed me how amazing and inspirational humans are capable of being. The strength of love and community is everywhere in Kenya." -Alex McCown, Kenya 2017.
"This trip has taught me a lot about myself and my responsibility in the world. One important thing that I learned was that we have the same needs and desires as human beings. We all strive for love and happiness, providing for and protecting our loved ones, working hard for a comfortable livelihood and also loving God." -Olivia Allessandri, Kenya 2017.
"A part of me is left in Africa, with the people I encountered and the sights I have seen. For anyone else traveling to Africa on a service trip I will tell him or her they will leave a piece of them there, but one really has to start the journey to understand, just as I did." -Nadine Burton, Tanzania 2015.
“This has changed my life, this has set a fire in me and because of this program I'm going to go on and do bigger things. And so are all the other people who have been involved this. It's just the beginning for us.” -Emily Schweiger, Tanzania 2015.
Excerpt from “Orphans of God”
- by Emily Schweiger
This orphanage in Tanzania
Is one of my favorite places to be;
Though the conditions are sad,
There is much more to see.
You do not know true joy
Until you have seen a child smile,
Especially one that appears very sad,
And hasn’t been loved in a while.
Service Learning Evaluation Reports
Support the next generation of leaders
You can give a U.S. student or sister the unique, life-changing experience of our service learning program by sponsoring a service trip to Africa today!Donate Now »