Storytelling Blog

National Volunteer Month Spotlight #2: Lansing Catholic High School's Alabama Mission Trip

Apr 18, 2019 2:07:52 PM / by Ashley Rhodes


Rebuilding Together

We talked to Stacia Devries, Teacher & Service Coordinator of Lansing Catholic High School, to find out even more about this special mission project and its history. Read our Q&A with her below!


  • Why is it important for young people to volunteer their time to serve others?

    "Our mission statement at Lansing Catholic High school is "The Lansing Catholic High School Community forms students spiritually, intellectually and socially into faithful disciples of Jesus Christ." Service to others is an important part of being a disciple of Jesus, who is the ultimate role model for us of the type of person to become. Knowing and loving other people as best we can is how we grow in understanding of ourselves and grow in relationship with Jesus. Sharing time, talent and treasure with others help students develop empathy and increase their understanding of people in different circumstances than themselves. Also, most adults tend to underestimate young people. And a lot of young people don't see themselves as able to make a real difference in the world. It has been my experience time and time again that when you set high expectations for students, they will meet them. And if they fall short, they have tried really hard to get there. Helping kids realize what they are capable is why I keep participating in these types of trips or experiences." (Stacia Devries) 
  • How did you get involved in Lansing Catholic High School’s Mission Team?

    "In my second year of teaching at LCHS, 2004, I made an intentional decision to get involved with something beyond my classroom. I decided on mission trip because I had never been to Alabama. My first year was the first year our team worked with Rebuilding Together. Our crew of 20 or so redid an entire roof and I fell in love with the mix that mission trip offers. You get to know the kids and the homeowners in a beautiful and deep way, and you also get to walk away knowing you helped accomplish something really important. After that first year, I was hooked. I have gone on a spring break trip to Alabama every year since, and when I was named service coordinator, one of the first focuses I had was the create summer mission trip opportunities, which we have also had great success with. This year we are going to Pine Ridge, SD, Memphis, TN and Beattyville, KY for summer trips." (Stacia Devries)
spring break 2   
  • How long has this been project been going on?

    "We started going to Alabama for this mission trip in 1995." (Stacia Devries)
  • Why did you choose Montgomery, Alabama for this project?

    "Doug Moore, our former campus minister and current principal, reach out to Habitat for Humanity chapters the Montgomery one was the first able to host us and to help us find housing. Since then, we have continued our Montgomery trip because we love sharing its history with our students, and there is always plenty of work. Our relationships with Habitat and then RT have always been filled with awesome people who welcome us most graciously." (Stacia Devries)
  • What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had helping homeowners through this project?

    "That's a tough one. A couple stand out. One stands out for how proud I was of the kids and the work they did. The other because of the relationship we created with our homeowner, all of which have been awesome. For the first, we were asked to dig a French drain all the way around a home. We had a few timing issues with the weather and such, so we basically had one day. It had rained before and the yard was solid Alabama mud. The kind that doesn't come off your shovel or your boots for months. But our kids literally just dug in. Some of them struggled with the shovels so much they gave up and just used their hands. For hours. By the end of the day, we looked like we had gone to war, the trench was done. All 300 or so feet of it.
    The second that sticks out was Ms. Catherine's Home. Ms. Catherine had faced so much sadness in her life- Her husband has died, her son was killed in a car accident, one of her daughters was murdered- So much pain had flooded her life. And her response had caused her to hang on tightly to all physical items in her life. In short, she was a hoarder. But her house really needed some serious repairs- A new floor, a new roof, her gas pipe had corroded, her outlets were mostly non-working, etc. etc. It still stands as the most difficult house for me to walk into and think "Someone lives here." But Ms. Catherine was amazing. She immediately fell in love with all of our students and adults. In a most vulnerable way, she allowed us into her home and her life. Half of our team spent the week hauling stuff out and the other half sat outside with her helping to decide it items should be "Kept, Donated or Tossed." By the end of the week, we had reclaimed her entire house for her and she was able to get the repairs that would allow her home to have the dignity all humans deserve." (Stacia Devries)
alabama mission trip

photo credit: Lansing Catholic High School FB page 

Special thanks to Lansing Catholic High School and Rebuilding Together Central Alabama 


national volunteer month!

This is the last in our series of spotlighting volunteers for National Volunteer Month. We hope you've enjoyed it! If you missed our first volunteer story, you can read it now here

We encourage you to get out and volunteer! You can find volunteer opportunities in your community right through our website - just click here




Topics: storytelling, video, volunteer

Ashley Rhodes

Written by Ashley Rhodes