June 02, 2014

Global Solidarity Week at Mercy High School Baltimore

Global Solidarity Week is a pilot project of Mercy High School with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the largest international relief organization in the world. CRS headquarters is located here in Baltimore.

Mercy is one of a few schools nationwide that was chosen to explore international relief issues with CRS. The program’s goals are to develop students’ global understanding and the role of the Catholic Church in peace-building, natural disaster relief and services to immigrants and refugees worldwide.

This year the Director of the Center for Global Education, Betsy Toffolo-Cresce, and her committee, wove together assemblies, workshops and displays around the theme iAm Going Home: Immigrants, Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Disaster Relief. Students were introduced to this special week in social studies and religion classes. Earlier in the year, the Mercy Community participated in an assembly by the Asylee Women Enterprise, an organization that is a collaboration of Catholic Sisters from nine religious communities in Baltimore, working together to provide housing and a network of community to women seeking asylum.


The 9th and 10th graders selected four workshops to attend on topics relating to our theme. The day began with an assembly by our Global Solidarity Student Committee. The girls watched a film on the meaning of home, created by Catholic Relief Services. The film featured teenagers in four parts of the world who have experienced the trauma of political and religious conflict or natural disasters in their home countries.

During the day, our students had the opportunity to learn about fair trade from a representative from Ten Thousand Villages, immigration legal services from World Relief, how to tell their own immigration family stories from a professional storyteller, the road to naturalization, and the power of fences as borders between countries from a Loyola professor, and much more! Some students created welcome kits for incoming refugee families and others painted bowls for the St. Vincent de Paul Empty Bowls fundraiser. Two of our Mercy students, senior Shanese Scott and freshman Lucie Amrhein, led a workshop on starting and supporting nonprofits. Shanese is a member of the African and American Women Association. Lucie started her own non-profit called Hugs from Lucie.

The day ended with an assembly by Mary Beth Iduh and Lane Bunkers, leaders in Catholic Relief Services. Students and teachers learned more about their work and how they reach out to people in need throughout the world. Our freshmen presented them with a check for $200 (bake sale proceeds) to support disaster relief work in the Philippines.

All in all, our students expanded their knowledge of these important global issues and began to find their voices in how to serve others as Mercy students.

Messages to: Cynthia Woodruff - Librarian, Mercy High School Baltimore

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