Canton, Miss., Trip Inspires NDA Volunteers


Colleen Mortell, Staff Writer

Every year during spring break, campus minister Mr. Daniel Kriegl takes a group of Notre Dame students to Canton, Mississippi, where they volunteer their time at MadCAAP (Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty).

Students spend a week building and repairing houses for those in need.

Mr. Kriegl informs junior and senior classes of the trip and has anyone interested fill out an application.  Anyone can apply, but Mr. Kriegl makes the final decision.

A maximum of fifteen students are allowed on the trip.  This years trip consisted of juniors Corrie Campion, El Hein, Davide De Prosperis, Derek Campbell, Ellie Schibly, and seniors Miranda Metzler, Stu Kwaterski, Collin Goodleston, Sam McCole, Kieran DeGroot, Josie Bauer, John Strutt, MacKenzie Timmer, Anna DeMeuse, and Kevin Robinson.

Miss Elizabeth Fonferek, campus minister intern last year, and Mrs. Hein assisted the group as well.

“I have been on vacations to beachy places before, and I always get kind of bored. I chose to go to Canton because I wanted to do something more fulfilling with my time, and helping people was definitely worth it. I would definitely go back. I actually want to go next year,” junior Ellie Schibly said.

Students stayed in the youth center at First Baptist Church in Canton.

The cost of the trip is $400 per student.  To help out with the costs, students sell stock which is a ticket to a dinner being held at Notre Dame on April 15.  Stock buyers learn about the students’ experiences at the dinner.

“Hard work, sunscreen, and a run with Kieran DeGroot,” are words senior John Strutt used to describe the experience.

On a typical day in Canton, the boys would wake up early.  Once the girls began to get up, the boys would make everyone peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.  At 8:15, everyone would leave for the site where they would work eight hour days, with a lunch break, according to Mr. Kriegl.

“When you’re down there, you really experience the southern hospitality.  Karen and John (workers at MadCAAP) took us out for a delicious dinner one night.  The food there is so good and you get the culture feel,” Mr. Kriegl said.

Later at night, around 8:00 PM, the students would have reflection time and shared their highs and lows of the day.

“My favorite part was not only getting to learn how to do things that I never thought I could, but also talking with the people we were helping and getting to know their story. I think that we think people are poor because of something they did, but often times it’s out of their control. Even just getting to know my classmates better was awesome.  Every aspect of the trip was fun and rewarding,” Schibly said.

After having a lot of fun, and learning a lot about themselves and others, Schibly and Strutt both agreed they would go back in a heart beat.

“Definitely go, and go with an open heart.  Be ready to work hard,” Strutt added.