Learning from Two Unique Communities – Milwaukee, WI

My trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin was certainly an eye-opening one. An experience that really affected me was our group’s service at the St. Anne’s Center. This place served as both a daycare for children and a nursing home. What made it stand out was its service as an “Intergenerational Center” that works to connect both children and the elderly. Our group worked with both generations and learned that most of the adults staying at the center were living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. By spending time with both groups, we learned that they interact on a constant basis in order to prevent the children forming negative stigmas surrounding older people and people living with difficult conditions, two groups of people many children do not get to interact with often.

Personally, Sr. Jean, our fearless Urban Plunge Coordinator, impacted me the most. She played a major role in our formation. She challenged us, joked with us, and even cried with us. The way she impacts her community is admirable, and the way she shares these experiences with others is nothing short of outstanding.

What challenged me was the discrimination towards people experiencing homelessness, as our trip allowed us to witness in small doses. From needing to trek long distances across town just to get basic necessities, to sideways looks from wealthy people walking around the downtown area, we caught glimpses of the discrimination and ostracizing of people experiencing homelessness. These glimpses challenged me to consider how I could interact differently with this population who were really not so different from me, at the end of the day.

Personally, this trip altered the path I want to take. I have always wanted to be a physical therapist, and still do, but I now want to incorporate into my role serving  people who would not normally be able to afford my services. I have grown to realize that putting people and their dignity first by making sure they have what they need to thrive is more important than monetary gain, so I must give myself to others in any way that I can.

I truly would describe my Spring Break Service & Justice Trip as life-changing. The experiences I  had there changed and shaped the direction I would like to take in my life, something I am incredibly grateful for.

Zach Banaszak
Class of 2021

The SCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the SCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.