Nonprofit hosts mission trip for Cristo Rey students

| November 17, 2015 | 0 Comments
Grace Strangis

Grace Strangis

Grace Strangis has a heart for children living in poverty — especially poverty in post-war environments amid broken governments. Poverty, Strangis explained, that’s tangible.

“I don’t think people understand poverty until they live it, feel it, smell it,” she said.

Since she founded Pathways to Children in 2009, she has used her background in health care and expertise in international travel to host trips to Kolkata, India, home to two Pathways schools, including a program for special needs children; the village of Belessa, Ethiopia, where Pathways is in the process of building a school; and now Bogotá, Colombia, where Pathways partners with the Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester for their mission. Two of Strangis’ sisters belong to the congregation.

Strangis invited students from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis to experience a Colombia trip as a “cultural exchange.” Two teachers will accompany the 16 students who will be paired with a youth their age. Strangis and her husband, Ralph, parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes in Minneapolis, plan to leave with the group Nov. 22 and return Nov. 30.

While there, the group will spend a day at a clinic for the elderly, play soccer and even prepare a Thanksgiving dinner.

“These trips change their lives,” said Strangis, who’s retired and a full-time volunteer with Pathways to Children. “They change how they view the world, especially if they haven’t traveled in developing countries. It’s so great how they come over and connect with these handicapped kids, for instance.”

Pathways to Children was able to sponsor the trip for the students through grants. The students will receive course credit for the trip.

Last November, Strangis brought students from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis to volunteer in India. Those students later received a Jefferson Award for community service, leadership and volunteerism.

“We took a couple of kids who had been homeless and were living in shelters, and they came back saying how blessed they were, how lucky they were,” Strangis said.

She added, “There’s a lot of spirituality — even if you’re not Catholic — that goes along [with these trips] because you really get into the soul of the person, you get into the meaning of life because of what you see.”

Find more information about Pathways to Children.

Tags: , ,

Category: Local News