Saint Ursula Academy Students Take “Urban Plunge” With St. Vincent De Paul

Six Saint Ursula Academy students spent one week of their summer break volunteering for the “Urban Plunge Project” through Saint Vincent de Paul’s Ozanam Center for Service Learning. The goal of this trip was to combine volunteer service in the city of Cincinnati with work, study, and prayer.  Students learned about urban poverty and social and economic justice through educational activities and speakers.

On June 10, SUA students Deirdre Carroll ’21 of Kenwood, Julie Forbes ’20 of Montgomery, Emma Foster ’19 of Delhi Township, Sarah Paeltz ’20 of Milford, Becca Reddy ’20 of White Oak, Jordan Schneider ’20 of White Oak, and SUA Teacher Melissa Lea ’87, along with several students from Ursuline Academy, began their “Urban Plunge” by checking in to the St. Vincent de Paul Ozanam Center for Service Learning in the West End. This would serve as their “home-base” for the week.

During the week, the students and teachers visited a women’s shelter, the Homeless Coalition, recreation centers for children, the West End Community Garden, SVDP Food Pantry, and the Hamilton County Justice Center.  While visiting the agencies, they were encouraged to focus on issues such as poverty, homelessness, housing, health care issues, and specifically, how these issues may be compounded in the young and elderly inner-city population.

Through their many volunteer efforts during the week, students gained a greater understanding of many of the issues which exist in the city in which we live. 

Saint Ursula Academy teacher Melissa Lea was fortunate to accompany the students on this trip.  She believes that exposing students to experiences such as this helps students develop a greater compassion and understanding of the issues faced in our society.

“At Saint Ursula Academy, we strive to help young women become prophets:  women who will witness God's presence in the world and who will help create a society where the rights of the disadvantaged, marginalized, and defenseless are respected and promoted,” said Lea.  “Joined by our Ursuline Academy sisters, we spent a week with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the West End.  We walked alongside people experiencing poverty in our own city and spent time learning about the challenges that our neighbors face on a daily basis.  We met a number of inspiring people and are forever changed by their willingness to share their experiences and struggles with us.”

In addition to the Urban Plunge trip with St. Vincent de Paul, 35 other SUA students participated in community service trips in Cincinnati, South Dakota, Tanzania, and an immersion trip to Japan.  Whether Saint Ursula Academy students are serving the poor in Cincinnati, restoring homes in Appalachia, building outhouses in South Dakota, learning about the culture in Japan, or creating artwork with children in Tanzania, many of them choose to spend their summer building a better world.

Saint Ursula Academy is a Catholic, college-preparatory, secondary school for young women known for academic excellence and rich tradition. Saint Ursula welcomes students from more than 90 grade schools in the Greater Cincinnati area.  The Academy is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School. The campus, located at 1339 E. McMillan Street in East Walnut Hills has been the home of Saint Ursula Academy and Convent since 1910. The Class of 2017 earned college scholarships totaling more than $21-million.