From Lori Wilson, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich CT who has brought a group of high school students here for 5 years:
In my experience students come home, looking for ways to make a bigger difference around Greenwich after their time in New Orleans. Their eyes are open to 'find the Katrina' in their own back yard so we see an increase in volunteerism as a first outcome. We have students who have continued the New Orleans Hope Force Club each year since Katrina - this club fundraises for St. Bernard Project, spreads awareness of the need to continue to support the marginalized of New Orleans and produces a chapel prayer service that shares the experience in the context of prayer. The girls are acutely aware that there is no news anymore about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. They know it is their responsibility to continue the work. We've had girls attend Tulane University after being on a New Orleans service trip, graduate and start careers in New Orleans because they fall in love with the people of the city. One student recently submitted a Creole Initiative project for science research. It's to create a new marsh plant that would grow in brackish water to help recover the wetlands. Where did she get this idea and the dream to make a difference? On her New Orleans service learning trip this past summer.
What makes Duchesne House different is the prayer and reflection aspect of all experiences there. You can do service anywhere, stay anywhere, but the emphasis on the critical thinking is crucial. Trying to see how God fits into the entire thing is also critical to the process. We go year after year and stay at Duchesne House because we've made a commitment to return each year until everyone is back in their homes, and because collaborating with the Sisters on the learning part of the experience and the reflection and prayer aspects are done collaboratively. We can do this on our own, without a doubt, but at Duchesne House it's part of the mission of the house - it's what makes staying there so valuable.”