Whitney Maddox is the assistant director for student organizations and leadership development at the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service.
“As a staff leader for the Magis: Jamaica trip, I expected to witness the hearts and minds of our students to be transformed right before my very eyes, and I did. What I did not expect to witness was my own.
Immersed in the culture, we learned about the country’s food, music, religion, influential leaders, education system and more. We visited many places, including St. Georges College, a Jesuit high school in Kingston, to learn about the country’s education system and some of the challenges it faces. We talked with, fed, prayed with and sang to elderly members of the community, and we built a house for a person living alone with physical challenges.
I will forever be changed because of the stories I heard, the students I laughed with and the spiritual awakening I experienced. Hearing the stories of the Jamaican people made me reflect on how blessed I truly am. Their stories of resilience and joy have stained my heart forever.
The trip provided me and many of the students an opportunity to pause our own lives and become intertwined with the fabric of strangers’ lives that we helped to improve.
I learned, I reflected and then I became compelled to act.”