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Students Serve Tacoma Residents through New ‘Justice In January’ Program

Loving service of others is part of Gonzaga's mission statement and students have many opportunities to take part in service work. (Above) Students in the April's Angels service group gather before working. Photo by Zack Berlat

Gonzaga students have many opportunities to take part in service work and service-learning. (Above) Students in April's Angels service group gather to hear Fr. C. Hightower, S.J. before their work last spring. Zack Berlat photo.

SPOKANE, Wash. – With spring-term classes set to begin Jan. 18, Gonzaga University’s Center for Community Action and Service-Learning is launching its new weeklong social justice outreach program titled “Justice in January,” which aims to help the homeless and developmentally disabled residents of Tacoma, Wash.

Three student leaders and nine other student volunteers are donating a week of their winter break to partner with the Guadalupe House, also known as the Tacoma Catholic Worker, and L’Arche Tacoma Hope Farm & Gardens to implement the project. The team, which includes staff adviser Luisa Gallagher, is living and working in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood – a historically diverse part of the city’s Central District – staying at Jean’s House of Prayer.

The immersion-style project is similar to Gonzaga’s popular Mission: Possible, a spring break initiative in which groups of Gonzaga students complete service projects at 10 sites nationwide. Students participate in both programs for the opportunities to improve communities outside of Spokane and to grow as individuals.

Student leaders for Justice in January are seniors Lauren Mills, Boring, Ore., and Nate Garberich, Seattle, and junior Connor Brenes of Daly City, Calif.

“Our hope is to structure the week around the Social Change Model, which looks at the individual, the community, and the society as a whole,” Garberich said. “We hope participants will walk away more aware of their leadership style, more confident that they can ignite social change, and better able to work with other different leaders when back on campus.”

Since 1997, Gonzaga’s Center for Community Action and Service-Learning (CCASL) has empowered students to take action through community involvement, education and public service. CCASL coordinates service-learning courses at the University, manages community-based volunteer and outreach programs, and provides referrals for external volunteer opportunities.

“These programs provide our students an opportunity to serve their local and global communities, develop leadership skills, and engage in the Jesuit practice of reflection to learn and grow from these experiences,” said Todd Dunfield, associate director of CCASL.

For more information or to contact the Gonzaga students in Tacoma, please contact Dunfield at (509) 313-6396, (509) 979-6401 or via e-mail.


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