Category Archives: Travel

Counseling and Art Therapy students go to South Dakota on service learning trip

Written by Katherine Jackson, assistant professor, Counseling and Art Therapy department

photo 8From June 21 – 27, 2015, graduate students, alumnae, one undergraduate student, a few community members and three faculty members journeyed to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, to work with Lakota Sioux youth at the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) which is located on the Cheyenne River Native American Reservation.

Graduate students in the Counseling and Art Therapy program had suggested about a year ago that we do a service learning trip with impoverished and at risk populations in our own country, and we discovered a wonderful opportunity at Cheyenne River Youth Project. CRYP was founded in the 1980s to help give youth and teens a place to congregate where they could enjoy healthy snacks, activities and socialize. CRYP was a big success from the start, and soon after opening they were able to secure grants and funding to build a new center that could accommodate almost all of the youth in and around the Eagle Butte area. At present, CRYP serves hundreds of children, providing sports, art, tutoring, a youth run coffee shop, a sustainable organic garden, a graffiti art park and a healthy eating program which offers whole food meals every evening for any child in the community.

The Coordinator of Volunteer Service, Tammy Eagle Hunter, explained the philosophy at CRYP, which is “Don’t feel sorry for us and try to help, but rather join with us and together we will make things better.” This statement, although simple, sums up the attitude at CRYP. Everyone is encouraged to help side-by-side with the Lakota Sioux to maintain the community, work with the kids and pitch in wherever needed.

While we were there, we workphoto 4ed on cleaning, landscaping, gardening and organizing the center in the morning. In the afternoons, 30-40 youth arrived to participate in art therapy, nature activities, games, yoga and loving care from the Ursuline group. We provided support, care and lots of fun. Not only did the kids get to do art therapy and create many beautiful art creations, but they got their first taste of yoga. Yoga was a hit with many of the kids because it was so different than anything they had ever experienced.

While we were at the center, we learned first hand how alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, low socioeconomic status and poor dietary habits affect this vulnerable population. Many of the children got their only meal of the day at the CRYP center and endured parental neglect and abuse at home. Despite these hardships, the resiliency of these Lakota Sioux children is remarkable. The children embraced us with open arms and hearts, and we found a welcome home away from home at the center and in the reservation.

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We were fortunate enough to have a Lakota artisan, a bead worker, and a native storyteller and dancer work with us for an afternoon. We learned that the Lakota language is an oral language and thus is almost extinct. The Lakota people are attempting to put the language in written form to help preserve it and also to maintain important Lakota traditions. For example, in Lakota there is no word that means war, and this peaceful tradition is built right into rituals and community gatherings. Most quarrels are handled by compromise, with harmony being a prized value in the population.

One week did not seem like enough time to fully visit and get to know the people at the CRYP center and on the Cheyenne River Reservation. We are hopeful that we can return next year and make it an annual service learning trip to help the Lakota Sioux youth and continue to forge and build relationships with both the CRYP and the Cheyenne River Reservation.

 

January 2015: alumnae India immersion experience

indiaExperience India with International Partners in Mission (IPM) on this small group tour, designed for 10-20 participants for approximately 10-12 days. IPM’s Immersion Experiences are short-term travel opportunities where participants learn firsthand from IPM Project Partners in India, including alumna Karen Hanson ’08 organization Girls for the World. IPM offers Immersion Experiences to build cross-cultural relationships so that participants can gain a greater understanding of the global realities of poverty and injustice.

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Sneak peek >> Summer 2014 Issue

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#COMINGSOON In the Summer 2014 issue of VOICES Magazine, find a beautiful photo essay from a recent alumnae trip to Italy by Director of Alumnae Relations Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer ’03.

Art Therapy and Counseling in Ecuador: adios amigos!

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Friday (March 14) was our last day working at ISPED Manuela Canizares elementary school in Quito, Ecuador. The day began with a special show performed by the children to thank us for working with them – and to say goodbye. The children dressed in animal costumes and sang simple songs in English on our behalf – mice, monkeys, tigers and cats lined the stage. There wasn’t a dry eye among us; we were so touched by the thoughtful gesture and the adorable kids.

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Art Therapy and Counseling in Ecuador: learning through service

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We were all excited to work again (March 13) with the children at ISPED Manuela Canizares elementary school in Quito. Today’s groups consisted of fourth, fifth and sixth grade students, as well as one group of cute four-year-olds! Our group is really hitting its stride now. Our Spanish is improving and the children all know us by name. The children are very creative and so sweet. We are starting to feel sad to leave have to leave in two days.

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Art Therapy and Counseling in Otavalo, Ecuador: the Andes, roses and cowboys

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Otavalo is two hours north of Quito, high in the Andes mountains. It is located just off the pan American highway that goes straight to Columbia, which is three hours east of Otavalo. The Otavalo people are one of the largest indigenous groups living in Ecuador. They are known for their handicrafts, textiles and fabrics, leather goods, coffee, chocolate and roses. There are rose gardens and greenhouses that line the road and flowers are for sale everywhere! Roses are so abundant in Otavalo that the locals can buy a dozen roses for one dollar. The flowers are big business and are shipped daily to the United States, Europe and China. In fact, roses are so important to the Ecuadorians that there is a special room at the airport just to store the roses before they are shipped out!

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Art Therapy and Counseling in Ecuador: working with street children, dealing with altitude sickness

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We woke up bright and early today (March 11) to journey to the school we are working at to began our work with the children. First, second and third graders were on today’s agenda. We played games and engaged them in projects such as making animal masks, crowns and a paper fish tank.

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Ursuline College & H.E.L.P. Malawi: the journey begins

Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer

By Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer, Director of Alumnae Relations and Development Specialist 

Today (March 9) we leave to begin our journey to Malawi. As I sit in the airport waiting for everyone to arrive for check-in, I think about my first time beginning this adventure. I had so many feelings & thoughts going through my head about the place I was headed to. I am sure Ursuline College students Maggie Stark, Molly Sabolsky, Taylor Bruno and Rhianna McChesney have a million thoughts racing through their heads. I know I was nervous, but extremely excited for everything I was about to encounter.

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Hola Ecuador! Art Therapy and Counseling service learning trip takes off March 8

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The count down is on. Nineteen Art Therapy and Counseling graduate students, one alumni and one professor, Katherine Jackson, will travel to Quito, Ecuador, Saturday, Marh 8, 2014. The group is going to Quito to work with impoverished children, some of whom are homeless. We will provide expressive arts therapy activities, loving care and possibly paint a mural to brighten up a wall at the Isped Manuela Canizares elementary school in urban Quito. There are approximately 500 children, ranging in age from four to 16-years who attend the school.

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Travels to France

Traveling to France was a dream come true for me. I had such a fabulous time that, the Lord willing, this will not be my last trip to the fantastic French land. I remember anticipating the trip, listening to French for Dummies and meeting a French tutor in preparation for the trip of a lifetime.  I have to say that the country of France did not disappoint.

The architecture of France is everywhere. As we traveled on the Metro, I marveled at the frescoes that covered the ceiling of the railcar. The magical scenes of horses and men displayed stories that a writer’s pen could compose a novel.  The ceiling was full of choreographed works of art of ancient times.

The Seine River was named appropriately for after traveling on the river cruise there were not many Parisian sights that I had not seen. The Eiffel Tower, the Musee D’Orsay and the Notre Dame Cathedral were the fabulous sights that I snapped with my camera as we journeyed down the river. The beauty of the bridges, the artistic figures of men, animals and the intricate detail of the objects were astounding.

The variety of cafes and restaurants gave me an opportunity to sample and to enjoy many different types of food. I was surprised by the variety of cakes that were available for breakfast.  The French people enjoy a number of sweet, delectable desserts from breakfast until dinner.  The hot chocolate at Angelina’s was the best that I have ever tasted.  The French culture has taught me to really delight in food.   It is important to take the time to taste, feel and savor the texture and flavor of the food.  In the United States, we are so busy that we live in a Styrofoam world, from to-go boxes to disposable coffee cups with lids; we neglect the importance of sitting down, taking a breath, enjoying our food and fellowshipping with others.

The visit to Claude Monet’s home and gardens was the most beautiful part of the trip.  I was reminded of special times that I spent with my grandma picking and planting flowers every year.  I savored the aroma of the many varieties of flowers. The pond was a body of still water that completed the peaceful scene.  As I think about Claude Monet, I try to imagine him as he was surrounded by mounds of flowers as he tried to decide which flowers to paint first.

Claude Monet’s home displayed his love for art with frame after frame of paintings and artwork covering every wall in the home.  The early twentieth century stove, the wash basin and other late nineteenth, early twentieth century items helped me to envision a time of simple living that included people spending quality time with each other and delighting in loving one another and not focusing on things the way that many people do today.  The many pieces of Japanese art surprised me.  As I was walking through the home, other visitors were discussing Monet’s fondness of Japanese art and how this art influenced his paintings.  Even though Monet had cataracts in his later years, he continued to paint and although the work was not as defined as his previous works, the outline of what he was painting is apparent and the colors are still vibrant.

The beauty of Monet’s home and garden added to the intriguing nature of France.  While the gardens represented life, the travel to the Omaha and Utah beaches were also a reminder of life.  Without the courage of the soldiers to come together on D-Day, I may not be here today.  If Hitler had continued his tyranny, my ancestors and many others who did not meet the narrow criteria of who was considered a perfect person would not have survived.  I am thankful to my grandfather and countless others who served in the military during World War II who fought for our freedom.  I learned a number of remarkable historical facts from our guide, Nigel, and from touring the museum.  If was fascinating viewing the items that were used eighty years ago such as clothing, supplies medications, weapons and phones, radios and telegraphs that were used to communicate.

The time in Paris included spending moments in a town with a vibrant night life.  Whether it was Saturday or Tuesday night, Parisians fill the streets and restaurants enjoying good food, good music and good company.  I would love to go back to France and spend a month touring the museums, walking along the river and breathing in the fresh air while standing on the countryside.  The trip to France has modified my thinking, increased my focus on what is important and helped me to stop and smell and appreciate the roses, to revel in the time spent with friends and to bask in the glory of nature that the Lord graces mankind with day after day.

April Braden, Student