St. Agnes Students Attend USC Vision and Voices Event

In addition to their pen-pal relationships in Kenya and Uganda, the students of St. Agnes have learned how they each can be "Ambassadors of Peace." They had the special opportunity to attend a USC Vision and Voices Signature Event, Safari of the Soul: The Quest For Water In Africa. The students attended this moving presentation and discussion that explored the problems of water access in Africa and the critical work being done to create healthy communities around the world. USC trustee Dave Dornsife and his wife Dana, reviewed their personal involvement in water-well drilling in Niger, Ghana, Mali and most recently Ethiopia, where they are trying to change these devastating conditions.

« The students had the special opportunity to personally ask Dave and Dana questions after their presentation.

Kathleen Doherty, Development Director at St. Agnes said the following about the students’ time at Safari of the Soul: A Search for Water in Africa

“It has been two months since our 7th and 8th graders attended the USC Vision and Voices presentation on bringing clean water to rural villages in Africa. If you talk to these students today, they still clearly remember the experience and can tell you without hesitation what had the largest impact on their way of thinking about the world: The guinea worm and why people get it The number of children that die from drinking polluted water The man who gave the presentation came down and talked to just the students at the end, and that made them feel important.”

Tim Monreal, a teacher at St. Agnes, who was a chaperone for the event said:

“The evening not only enhanced the students understanding of contemporary Africa, but also gave them insight into the world of academic exchange and discovery. The students were treated as VIPs at the University of Southern California and the evening was one that will forever live in their memory. The lecture also peeked students’ interest and initiated lively discussion.”

Lizeth Ofelia, USC AMF Pen-Pal Coordinator, had this to say about the students’ reaction to the event:

“The Safari of the Soul field trip was an invaluable experience for the 7th and 8th grade students of St. Agnes. Mr. and Mrs. Dornsife are ambassadors of peace who have inspired these students to live out their convictions on justice as peacemakers in their communities. A week after the presentation, two eighth graders, Michelle and Randy, approached me for advice on fundraising and advice on what to do if they wanted to help the cause. When I asked them why they wanted to help kids in Uganda, Vanessa responded, ‘Because it isn’t fair that they aren’t getting a good education over there. It costs less than a dollar a day.’ Randy added, ‘We just have to do something.’ These students committed themselves to doing something concrete without the need of any kind of incentive. As program coordinator I am happy to see them live out what we’ve been discussing in class, for it is nothing less than a miracle to see an adolescent discover the interconnectedness of our human race.”

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