Chicago Mission Trip

Brooke Fleming, Contributor

Totino-Grace students traveled to the Southside of Chicago, Illinois where they spent 5 days learning and experiencing different aspects of social justice. They saw first-hand food waste, homelessness and incarceration.

There were 12 students on the trip and the trip was chaperoned and led by Mrs. Hand and Mr. Rodriguez. Aside from the time the group spent working and learning, they took a trip to see the famous bean in Millennium Park. They were able to see how homelessness in Chicago differs from Minnesota. The group saw the struggles of people within the community and came back from their trip with great appreciation for their own privileges.

“My favorite part was going to the halfway house and my least favorite was leaving,” said Tara Rathman.

Most of the students said this trip was their top choice when applying, and they were excited to have been chosen for this mission. They were excited to grow closer with the group and to “see how people live in their community and learn more about their culture and how they do things differently from other states,” said Grace Nelson.

The group learned a lot about the issues that are not given enough acknowledgment and how people survive on little but are still grateful. They were able to spend time going down to a food pantry and help bag food. The students were able to meet many people along their journey, some just needing a little extra help and some barely getting by.

They worked with students in an after-school program at Port Ministries. The group was able to realize that all people have a story and everyone has their own problems and everyone is equal. Students had to step up and become comfortable with these uncomfortable circumstances. The group had a successful trip and are still adjusting and recovering.




Our students may have met a homeless person for the first time, or had a conversation with someone who may live on the streets. They heard from recently released felons and heard of their struggles with re-integrating into society. Witnessed deportation day of illegal immigrants. Once comfortable in uncomfortable circumstances, our students were fearless when learning the stories of those enduring tough times.”

— Mr. Rodriguez