Our Youth

Around The School Bell: St. Francis Prep Lends a Hand in Missouri

A group of students from the Franciscan Volunteer Program at St. Francis Preparatory School, Fresh Meadows, departed for Cape Girardeau, Mo., to join other volunteers from their sister school, Notre Dame R.H.S. and St. Anthony’s H.S., South Huntington, N.Y., as part of a winter break service trip in the Midwest. (Photos: St. Francis Preparatory School)

St. Francis of Assisi is perhaps one of the most popular saints in the Church. He was known for helping those in need, oftentimes, those who had no one else to help them. Students and alumni from St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows made personal sacrifices to follow in the footsteps of this 13th century icon.

Nine St. Francis Prep students and two chaperones departed for Cape Girardeau, Mo., the home of their sister school, Notre Dame R.H.S. The principal, Brother David Migliorino, O.S.F., is a Franciscan Brother of Brooklyn, the same community that operates St. Francis Prep, as well as St. Anthony’s H.S. who also sent students. Overall, 30 high school upper classmen and eight chaperones exchanged their winter break as an opportunity to serve others.



Reflecting On The Trip

Reflecting on the trip, a couple students commented on how they didn’t necessarily have contact with the people their efforts were benefitting. They said the work was ordinary – painting, cleaning, organizing and the like.

But the students also had the opportunity to see what regular volunteers did – which was work that would impact the community long after their duties were complete. Those volunteers were the true heroes, the students said.

Junior Krista DiMaggio commented how at Birthright, a pregnancy care center in Cape Girardeau, she felt extraordinary given the comments of gratitude she received. Senior Raquel Ramirez added how she had no hesitation when it came to volunteering and traveling to the Midwest, knowing how important it was to help and give back. Junior Joseph Prisco reflected on Mac’s Mission, an animal rescue organization. Prisco remembered how the organization’s director was only sleeping in two hour stretches, so she could be awake to feed puppies who need to be fed with tubes.

In less than a week, students got to form life-long friends and grasped how people in other parts of the country lived. Other volunteers included junior Leila Shanley and seniors Christian Bahr-Lopez, Jason Ligasan, Joshua Mathew, Kathryn Ruiz and Michael Velez.

The Franciscan Volunteer Program, as it is formally known, is administrated by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn.