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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2018

As Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia offers a unique blend of history and progress. The city is filled with numerous parks, gardens, and historical and cultural landmarks, which help to remind visitors and residents alike of its long story. That story is found in the cobblestone streets of Old City, the distinctive row-houses that compose the community’s neighborhoods, and the murals that highlight the city’s history. Beyond its vibrant past, there is much happening in the City of Brotherly Love today, both in terms of urban development and urban struggle. Poverty and unemployment are very real issues here, but the city is making strides to address the problems. Currently, Philadelphia is focusing on sustainability, providing healthy food to the hungry, creating equal opportunities for its diverse population, and redeveloping neighborhoods to invite more people in.

Reflection Papers

Photo book 1

Photo book 2

 

Osage Reservation, Oklahoma 2017

The Osage Reservation and surrounding area exemplifies the infamous “Home On The Range” cowboy song. Indeed this is an area where buffalo still roam! But behind the unassuming prairie landscape lies a powerful story. The Osage Indian Nation was granted the area as their land in the late 1800’s and they brought with them their strong tradition and rich history. The Million Dollar Elm was the site of public oil and natural gas lease auctions, which began in 1912. Millions of dollars were bid beneath the tree, thus its designation as the “Million Dollar Elm.” A monument was dedicated to the elm in 1970 by the Oklahoma Petroleum Council and the Oklahoma Historical Society. The tree died of Dutch elm disease during the early 1980’s and was cut down, but the monument remains. 

The stained glass windows at The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church were crafted in Munich and had to survive WWI before being shipped to Pawhuska in 1919. There are 22 windows in all, but two of the windows are historically significant because they depict Osage Tribal members that were still living at the time. These windows required special dispensation from the Vatican. The window depicts Osage people with Father Schoenmakers, who first brought Catholicism to the tribe. The other depicts Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards’ first encounter with Native Americans.

Though only 5% of the population still identifies themselves as members of the Osage tribe, the pride and presence of this once far-reaching tribe still penetrates the area.

Reflection Papers

Photo Book 1

Photo Book 2

Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota 2016

South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation is surrounded by the panoramic beauty of the Badlands. Rolling hills, forests and river valleys extend throughout this area known for some of the state’s finest fishing and hunting.

The Pine Ridge Reservation is the second largest reservation in the country; it is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. It is divided into eight districts: Eagle Nest, Pass Creek, Wakpamni, LaCreek, Pine Ridge, White Clay, Medicine Root, Porcupine and Wounded Knee. Despite the natural beauty of these communities, residents of the reservation are struggling with poverty, unemployment, addiction, health problems and more. The realities of life on the Pine Ridge Reservation are nothing short of heartbreaking. Around 97% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. Most 2–3-bedroom homes on the reservation are occupied by more than 20 people. Life expectancy is shorter than in any other community in the Western Hemisphere aside from Haiti.

Although there are no easy solutions, there is much to learn from a people who have weathered both present and past trouble.

Reflection Papers

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2015

As Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia offers a unique blend of history and progress. The city is filled with numerous parks, gardens, and historical and cultural landmarks, which help to remind visitors and residents alike of its long story. That story is found in the cobblestone streets of Old City, the distinctive row-houses that compose the community’s neighborhoods, and the murals that highlight the city’s history. Beyond its vibrant past, there is much happening in the City of Brotherly Love today, both in terms of urban development and urban struggle. Poverty and unemployment are very real issues here, but the city is making strides to address the problems. Currently, Philadelphia is focusing on sustainability, providing healthy food to the hungry, creating equal opportunities for its diverse population, and redeveloping neighborhoods to invite more people in.

Reflection Papers

Photo book 1

Photo book 2

 

Birmingham, Alabama 2014

Many people know Birmingham for its history as a city central to the early civil rights movement. While the city was built in the decades after the abolition of slavery, racial divides and disparity have always been part of life here, which is part of the dynamic that made Birmingham a significant city in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, located across the street from the historic Kelly Ingram Park and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, plays an important role in educating locals and visitors about civil rights history. The Institute and other local organizations also seek to break through the racial divides that are still present in this city. Birmingham is also known for its mining. Birmingham played an important role as an industrial center for iron and steel production, which fueled its initial growth as a city — it is the only place where the three minerals necessary to make steel can all be found in close proximity. Visiting The Vulcan, the largest cast iron statue in the US, you can get an idea of the importance of this industry in the past and how it influences the economics of the city presently. Today Birmingham has become known as a progressive center for medical research, banking, music, technology, art, engineering and higher education. However, the city is also working to find creative solutions to serve and support a large number of residents who struggle with poverty and homelessness.

Reflection Papers

Photo Book 1

Photo Book 2

Northern Cheyenne Reservation 2013

The rugged land of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana is home to the unique culture and heritage of the Cheyenne people. The day-to-day realities of life on the reservation present several challenges, from unemployment to poverty to inadequate housing, but there is much to learn from this resilient tribe and their story. Historically the Cheyenne aligned themselves with the Lakota and Arapaho people, and they fought in the significant Battle of Little Bighorn. The town of Lame Deer has a population of 2,052, which is fairly large compared to our other reservation communities. Home to Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer is a town that welcomes people with open arms.

Reflection Papers

Booneville, Arkansas 2012

Booneville is located in the Arkansas River valley between the scenic Ouachita and Ozark mountains. Tourists come to the Ozark region to enjoy the parks and nature, explore underground caves and catch a glimpse of a variety of wildlife. In 1821, Colonel Walter Lauthron left Little Rock to travel to Fort Smith. During his journey, Lauthron passed through what is now Booneville. He was so impressed with the beauty and promise of the land he returned six years later to become the first permanent settler. However, legend has it that the town is actually named for the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone who also spent time in the area.

The Civil War brought disorganization to the social systems of the South, and Arkansas was no exception to the confusion. Much disarray and conflict followed the war during the reconstruction period while the state struggled to continue to develop. In 1878, Boonville was first officially incorporated as a town. A railroad was later built to Little Rock that traveled north of Booneville and promised to bring people, money and employment near the town. The railroad bought land northwest of Booneville and divided the land into lots and gave those lots top business owners in the old town who literally picked up their stores and moved them to the new city. As a result, the [resent day Booneville was reincorporated in 1899. Eighteen percent of the residents live below the poverty level, including 22 percent of those under 18.

Reflection Papers

Eastern Shore, Virginia 2011

The Eastern Shore of Virginia, and the town of Onancock in particular, offers a historic setting, serene lifestyle and abundant outdoor recreation. Fishing and bird-watching are popular pastimes for both residents and visitors. The economy is largely agricultural, dominated by cotton, soybean and vegetable farms and large-scale chicken farms. Farm and factory jobs have drawn a large number of Hispanic immigrants to this area, bringing a unique cultural influence and dynamic. However, some local residents experience the common rural struggle of unemployment. Another challenge has come from a large number of retirees moving to this beautiful area, causing home prices to increase and diminishing affordable housing options for those with lower incomes.

Reflection Papers

Marvell, Arkansas 2010

Tucked among cotton fields along Highway 49 in eastern Arkansas is the small town of Marvell. Located on the Mississippi River Delta, Marvell is ideally situated for good farming, and in the past it was understood that in this community “Cotton is King!” However, over the past few years because of the rising prices of cotton other crops such as soybeans are becoming popular to farm. What this town lacks in size it easily makes up for with warmhearted welcome, showing off southern hospitality at its finest. Generosity and helpfulness are hallmarks of a people that love their community and those who visit. Even in this kind community, though, Marvell struggles with poverty. Farming can be unpredictable and businesses move towards larger towns. In this little town, there are plenty of needs that should not be overlooked.

Reflection Papers

Osage Reservation, Oklahoma 2009

The Osage Reservation and surrounding area exemplifies the infamous “Home On The Range” cowboy song. Indeed this is an area where buffalo still roam! But behind the unassuming prairie landscape lies a powerful story. The Osage Indian Nation was granted the area as their land in the late 1800’s and they brought with them their strong tradition and rich history. The Million Dollar Elm was the site of public oil and natural gas lease auctions, which began in 1912. Millions of dollars were bid beneath the tree, thus its designation as the “Million Dollar Elm.” A monument was dedicated to the elm in 1970 by the Oklahoma Petroleum Council and the Oklahoma Historical Society. The tree died of Dutch elm disease during the early 1980’s and was cut down, but the monument remains. 

The stained glass windows at The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church were crafted in Munich and had to survive WWI before being shipped to Pawhuska in 1919. There are 22 windows in all, but two of the windows are historically significant because they depict Osage Tribal members that were still living at the time. These windows required special dispensation from the Vatican. The window depicts Osage people with Father Schoenmakers, who first brought Catholicism to the tribe. The other depicts Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards’ first encounter with Native Americans.

Though only 5% of the population still identifies themselves as members of the Osage tribe, the pride and presence of this once far-reaching tribe still penetrates the area.

Reflection Papers

Cortez, Colorado 2008

Experience the adventure and fascinating heritage of Mesa Verde Country in Cortez, Colorado. The spectacular mountains, mesas and canyons offer outdoor recreation and vast archaeological treasures. As you immerse yourself in the culture of this region, your group also will have the opportunity to help those residents who struggle with poverty through a variety of work projects. Groups will also show Jesus’ love by facilitating a Kids Club.

Reflection Papers

2007

Newport, Tennessee

Majestic mountains, sparkling rivers and scenic wilderness are the backdrop for the 7,242 residents of Newport, Tennessee. Located in eastern Tennessee’s Cocke County, Newport is approximately 50 miles east of Knoxville on the eastern border of Tennessee at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains. Once a bustling commercial and transportation center, Newport was originally named “Clifton” for the sharp cliffs towering over Pigeon River, but was renamed “New Port” because of the importance of the river. The Pigeon River and Norfolk/Southern Railroad run parallel to Newport’s Main Street, where you can enjoy shopping and dining.

While this rural town has a low cost of living, there still are residents who struggle to make ends meet, often because of the lack of educational and employment opportunities. Only 60 percent of Newport’s residents have a high school diploma, and the unemployment rate hovers near 8 percent. Twenty-nine percent of the population lives in poverty, including almost 41 percent of children under age 18. Visit Newport and be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to this peaceful community.

Reflection Papers

Pine Ridge, South Dakota

South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation is surrounded by the panoramic beauty of the Badlands. Rolling hills, forests and river valleys extend throughout this area known for some of the state’s finest fishing and hunting.

The Pine Ridge Reservation is the second largest reservation in the country; it is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. It is divided into eight districts: Eagle Nest, Pass Creek, Wakpamni, LaCreek, Pine Ridge, White Clay, Medicine Root, Porcupine and Wounded Knee. Despite the natural beauty of these communities, residents of the reservation are struggling with poverty, unemployment, addiction, health problems and more. The realities of life on the Pine Ridge Reservation are nothing short of heartbreaking. Around 97% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. Most 2–3-bedroom homes on the reservation are occupied by more than 20 people. Life expectancy is shorter than in any other community in the Western Hemisphere aside from Haiti.

Although there are no easy solutions, there is much to learn from a people who have weathered both present and past trouble.

Reflection Papers

Bayou La Batre, Alabama 2006

Perched on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Bayou La Batre is a leader in the commercial fishing and seafood industry and known as the Seafood Capital of Alabama. Their seaside reputation has been reinforced by the History Channel’s show Big Shrimpin’, frequent references in the movie Forest Gump, and Disney’s 2005 launch of the pirate ship The Black Pearl from a local harbor.

The peaceful shores of the Mississippi Sound offer a beautiful backdrop for this community steeped in heritage and tradition. Yet this community has also experienced its share of recent trouble. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina washed away much of the town and disrupted residents’ typically relaxed pace of life. And in 2010, the Gulf Oil Spill threatened the town’s livelihood. The community continues to persevere as it recovers from these disasters.

Reflection Papers

Marvell, Arkansas 2005

Tucked among cotton fields along Highway 49 in eastern Arkansas is the small town of Marvell. Located on the Mississippi River Delta, Marvell is ideally situated for good farming, and in the past it was understood that in this community “Cotton is King!” However, over the past few years because of the rising prices of cotton other crops such as soybeans are becoming popular to farm. What this town lacks in size it easily makes up for with warmhearted welcome, showing off southern hospitality at its finest. Generosity and helpfulness are hallmarks of a people that love their community and those who visit. Even in this kind community, though, Marvell struggles with poverty. Farming can be unpredictable and businesses move towards larger towns. In this little town, there are plenty of needs that should not be overlooked.

Reflection Paper

Coahoma, Mississippi 2004

Coahoma County, located approximately one hour from Memphis, Tennessee, relies on tourism to keep its economy afloat. Thousands of Blues-music enthusiasts converge on the Delta towns each year; and new casino gambling establishments are popping up throughout the region. The town is also home to Coahoma Community College, which serves as a catalyst for economic and community development in this region.

Farming was once a mainstay of the economy that was known for its cotton. Today, old sharecropper homes have been renovated with modern amenities to house tourists, and the entertainment and recreation industries provide the majority of jobs in the region. Unfortunately, tourism falls short of providing for all the economic needs of this community. Community leaders, such as Mayor Jones in Coahoma, are trying to develop ideas to create and promote economic life.

Reflection Papers 1
Reflection Papers 2

2003

Marvell, Arkansas

Tucked among cotton fields along Highway 49 in eastern Arkansas is the small town of Marvell. Located on the Mississippi River Delta, Marvell is ideally situated for good farming, and in the past it was understood that in this community “Cotton is King!” However, over the past few years because of the rising prices of cotton other crops such as soybeans are becoming popular to farm. What this town lacks in size it easily makes up for with warmhearted welcome, showing off southern hospitality at its finest. Generosity and helpfulness are hallmarks of a people that love their community and those who visit. Even in this kind community, though, Marvell struggles with poverty. Farming can be unpredictable and businesses move towards larger towns. In this little town, there are plenty of needs that should not be overlooked.

Reflection Paper

 

Cortez, Colorado

Experience the adventure and fascinating heritage of Mesa Verde Country in Cortez, Colorado. The spectacular mountains, mesas and canyons offer outdoor recreation and vast archaeological treasures. As you immerse yourself in the culture of this region, your group also will have the opportunity to help those residents who struggle with poverty through a variety of work projects. Groups will also show Jesus’ love by facilitating a Kids Club.

Wind River Reservation, 2002

The Wind River Reservation area is home to both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, as well as people living in communities surrounding the reservation in Fremont County and Lander. With mountain peaks, meadows and alpine streams, the natural beauty of the land is unsurpassed. Recreation includes fishing, camping, climbing, white-water rafting and hunting.

In the midst of the beauty, the residents of these communities face many social and economic challenges including poverty, unemployment and drug abuse. The Wind River Reservation is unique in that there are two tribes on the reservation. The Eastern Shoshone were allowed to choose their permanent location to call home. In 1868, Chief Washakie signed a treaty with the United States government formalizing the agreement and establishing the Wind River Reservation boundaries. Ten years later the government moved a band of Northern Arapaho onto the land, claiming it was only temporary. As traditional enemies, neither tribe was satisfied with the arrangement. 50 years later, the Arapaho hadn’t been moved; in 1928 the two tribes made peace and now share the reservation jointly. Fort Washakie is home to the Shoshone Tribal Cultural Center and the cemeteries where both Chief Washakie and Lewis and Clark’s Shoshone guide, Sacajawea, are buried. The Wind River Reservation is the seventh largest Indian reservation in the country, encompassing more than 2.2 million acres.

Reflection Papers

Montreal, Canada 2002

Montreal is one of the oldest North American cities. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec and the second largest metropolitan area in Canada. The city is located on Montreal Island in the Hochelaga Archipelago, where the Ottawa River flows into the St. Lawrence River. It is a bilingual city, with both French and English recognized as the native languages. Historically, its two languages separated the city into French and English speaking areas. Today the boundary is not quite so clear, but there are definitely distinct districts for the two languages. In fact, Montreal has the largest French speaking population outside France. The city is known for the old world charm of its historic district, complete with cobblestone streets. But it is also a city with struggles. After World War II, Montreal lost some of its population and industry growth to Toronto. The unemployment rate increased, and in 1990, 22% of the urban population was living below the poverty line. Homelessness has also become a serious problem in Montreal.

Reflection Papers

2001

Denver, Colorado

Located near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Denver, Colorado is a city thriving with art and culture that offers countless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Known as the “Mile High City,” Denver sits at exactly one mile above sea level, and the breathtaking Rockies can be seen from nearly anywhere in the city.

However, in the shadow of Denver’s blue skies and scenic landscape lies a city in the midst of transition and change. As a younger population moves into historically poor neighborhoods, those already struggling with poverty are being pushed outwards as home prices surge, often resulting in homelessness. In fact, two of the most commonly reported reasons for homelessness in the city are rising home costs and the breakup of a family. 64% of those considered homeless in Denver are families with children; 42% are women. Families in Denver face many challenges, but there are also many in the community who are seeking to come alongside them in those challenges to provide hope and restoration.

Reflection Papers

 

Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Montana

The rugged land of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana is home to the unique culture and heritage of the Cheyenne people. The day-to-day realities of life on the reservation present several challenges, from unemployment to poverty to inadequate housing, but there is much to learn from this resilient tribe and their story. Historically the Cheyenne aligned themselves with the Lakota and Arapaho people, and they fought in the significant Battle of Little Bighorn. The town of Lame Deer has a population of 2,052, which is fairly large compared to our other reservation communities. Home to Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer is a town that welcomes people with open arms.

Bayou La Batre, Alabama 2000

Perched on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Bayou La Batre is a leader in the commercial fishing and seafood industry and known as the Seafood Capital of Alabama. Their seaside reputation has been reinforced by the History Channel’s show Big Shrimpin’, frequent references in the movie Forest Gump, and Disney’s 2005 launch of the pirate ship The Black Pearl from a local harbor.

The peaceful shores of the Mississippi Sound offer a beautiful backdrop for this community steeped in heritage and tradition. Yet this community has also experienced its share of recent trouble. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina washed away much of the town and disrupted residents’ typically relaxed pace of life. And in 2010, the Gulf Oil Spill threatened the town’s livelihood. The community continues to persevere as it recovers from these disasters.

Coahoma, Mississippi 1999

Coahoma County, located approximately one hour from Memphis, Tennessee, relies on tourism to keep its economy afloat. Thousands of Blues-music enthusiasts converge on the Delta towns each year; and new casino gambling establishments are popping up throughout the region. The town is also home to Coahoma Community College, which serves as a catalyst for economic and community development in this region.

Farming was once a mainstay of the economy that was known for its cotton. Today, old sharecropper homes have been renovated with modern amenities to house tourists, and the entertainment and recreation industries provide the majority of jobs in the region. Unfortunately, tourism falls short of providing for all the economic needs of this community. Community leaders, such as Mayor Jones in Coahoma, are trying to develop ideas to create and promote economic life.