Mission Trips

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Since 1998, the Academy of the Holy Names has sponsored mission trips for high school students to locations ranging from the heart of Tampa to the Dominican Republic.

Mission trips take place during the annual high school Mini-Course Week, between the third and fourth quarters. The entire school community supports the trips through initiatives including prayer, fundraising and collections. The popular program proves to be life changing for all involved.


WHERE: Pipestem, W. Va.


TRANSPORTATION: Fly to one of several possible nearby airports and then drive in minivans to the site

APPROXIMATE COST: $900, based 2014 trip costs. Cost is subject to change due to flight costs, gas prices and van rental charges.

SERVICE WORK: AHN works as a crew for the Appalachian South Folklife Center, along with a carpenter, rehabilitating a home or other property for a family or group that cannot afford to maintain or fix the property on their own. Part of the lodging fee is a donation toward supplies for the project on which we work.

DINING: Missionaries stay at the Appalachian South Folklife Center in a house. Students bunk in one of several bedrooms and share the two house bathrooms. All meals are prepared in a common house that is sometimes shared with other work groups. The girls share cooking and cleaning duties on rotating days, and work together to prepare a menu prior to the trip.

DATES: Missionaries leave on Sunday, usually early, and return mid- to late-day on Saturday. After flying in, there is a several-hour-long van ride to the property, and thus back again to the airport.

SPECIAL DETAILS: There is limited space in the vans so girls must pack sparingly. Chaperones collect all cell phones upon arrival in Pipestem, and return them on the final day as we depart for the airport. Contact numbers are provided for the chaperones in case of emergency. Appalachia is often very cold or very wet at this time of year; girls need to be prepared and dressed appropriately for the weather. Extra opportunities may include a trip offsite to a mountaintop removal site or snow tubing at a nearby location.

Black Mountain

WHERE: Black Mountain, N.C.


TRANSPORTATION: Charter bus for the drive to and from North Carolina, as well as all daily trips.

LODGING: Missionaries stay in three cabins that have heat, running water and all necessary supplies.


SERVICE WORK: The Academy has worked with a food bank, shut-ins, the local Catholic church, a home for orphaned children and a home for foster children. Work is typically physical.

DINING: Most meals are prepared in the cabins and some are eaten out. All food costs are covered in the total trip cost.

DATES: Missionaries leave on Sunday, very early, and return very late on Friday.

SPECIAL DETAILS: Girls’ cell phones are collected as they enter the bus and are not retuned until the drive home. Chaperones are always available in the event of an emergency. Missionaries participate in an off-site adventure, which for the past two years has been zip lining in the mountains. Depending on the weather, other activities may be considered.

Costa Rica

WHERE: Samara, Costa Rica


TRANSPORTATION: Fly into Libera, Costa Rica, and meet chartered transportation to arrive in Playa Samara. Once in Playa Samara, students and chaperones will walk to many of the places they serve or be driven by drivers.

APPROXIMATE COST: $1200-$1400 dollars for the week.

SERVICE WORK: While in Playa Samara, AHN missionaries will be serving the CREAR Association. The mission of La Asociación CREAR is to provide supplemental educational, recreational, and career opportunities for community members, primarily youth with limited resources, in the rural beach communities surrounding Playa Sámara in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, by offering a wide variety of innovative programs focusing on academic and artistic education, environmental consciousness, health, and socio-cultural development.

DINING AND ACCOMODATIONS: Missionaries will be staying together in a home set up for student work groups and international students who travel to the area to do service. Missionaries will have access to a kitchen where they will cook many of their own meals, and gather for morning and evening reflections as part of their week.

DATES: Travel dates will be determined based on best price available. Most likely a Sunday departure with a Saturday morning return. Details will be provided as soon as confirmations are made.

SPECIAL DETAILS: This is the first year for our Costa Rica mission trip! We are working closely with a Local Coordinator who works with La Asociación CREAR to ensure the best possible experience for our students, and an opportunity to help the people of Costa Rica. This trip also features the opportunity to connect with the local children through sports, specifically lacrosse. Although lacrosse knowledge is NOT required, some experience will be helpful.

Dominican Republic

WHERE: La Victoria, Dominican Republic


TRANSPORTATION: Airplane, usually American Airlines


SERVICE WORK: Visiting impoverished families, painting houses, planting, repairs of the center, working with preschoolers, opportunity to experience the culture.

DINING: The retreat center Sisters of Schoenstatt, employees and volunteers, prepared simple but abundant meals, including rice and beans, chicken, and meat on occasion. One meal is made by the senior missionaries.

DATES: Usually missionaries depart early Sunday and return late on Saturday.

SPECIAL DETAILS: NO CELL PHONES, strict dress code, strict safety procedures. Communication to parents is daily via a parent volunteer who checks in with the leaders. Student missionaries are expected to be respectful of the Sisters of Schoenstatt and the rules that they and the adult members establish. All missionaries must be in good health to make this trip; there are not 911 providers in the DR.

Heart of Tampa/Ruskin

WHERE: Mary Help of Christians


TRANSPORTATION: Parents drop off girls at MHC.

APPROXIMATE COST: $350, which pays for meals and any supplies needed for projects. Any leftover money is a donation to MHC.

SERVICE PROVIDED: Construction of projects determined by MHC missionaries, but may include animal care, maintenance of stables and painting.

DINING: Meals are decided by the girls and prepared by the girls on campus in a commercial kitchen. One or two special meals may be ordered.

DATES: Missionaries are dropped off at MHC on Sunday afternoon and picked up there Friday evening.

SPECIAL DETAILS: No cell phones. Students are expected to participate in daily morning Mass, Wednesday adoration, a daily prayer service led by groups, nightly self-reflection and manual labor.

WHERE: Ruskin, Wimauma and Arcadia, Fla.




SERVICE PROVIDED: Missionaries work with the children of migrant workers in their day care centers, helping teachers and planting gardens, landscaping, cleaning and painting—any physical job they need.

DINING: Missionaries stay at Girl Scout Camp Dorothy Thomas in Riverview and do all chores, including cooking and cleaning. The menu is decided by the girls with advice from the adults. Some meals may be provided by the daycare centers. Missionaries usually pack their own lunches each day.

DATES: Missionaries leave Sunday afternoon and return Friday afternoon.

SPECIAL DETAILS: Cell phones are not allowed; chaperones provide their cell phone numbers to parents. Girls are allowed to use a chaperone’s phone to call home if needed. The trip includes a morning of picking in the fields and a visit to the trailer camps where workers live.


WHERE: Jonestown, Miss. (an SNJM mission)


TRANSPORTATION: Missionaries fly into Memphis and rent mini vans for transportation to and around Jonestown.

APPROXIMATE COST: $600-$850, depending on airfare

SERVICE: Supporting the SNJM missions, predominantly rehabbing houses in need of care, cleaning the preschool and clinic, a town clean-up, playing with neighborhood children, visiting with teenage girls and encouraging them to reach for their goals, especially with regard to education.

DINING: Meals are mostly prepared in-house. The final dinner on Friday is out at a restaurant, and girls typically eat in the airport. These costs are not included above.

DATES: Usually missionaries depart early Sunday and return late on Saturday.

SPECIAL DETAILS: Missionaries must turn in their cell phones at the airport. Phones will be returned on the way home. Parents will be provided with chaperone cell phone numbers. Missionaries sleep on the floor in Sr. Kay’s house; there is extremely limited personal space.


WHERE: Scranton, Pa.


TRANSPORTATION: Missionaries fly to the nearest major city (Newark or Philadelphia), then take a charter bus to Scranton. Once we are in Scranton, missionaries travel to service sites in minivans.


SERVICE PROVIDED: Missionaries work with a variety of social service agencies and parishes in the Scranton area, including organizations that serve people in economic need. Some of the works are sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, including St. Joseph's Center and Friends of the Poor. In other organizations, IHM sisters are present and working with lay people. Service is balanced between hands-on work (working in pantries, cleaning, mural painting) and interacting with children, adults and the elderly in various settings.

DINING: Missionaries eat breakfast and dinner at the IHM Center (residence of the IHM Sisters; the dining service provides meals and prepares bagged lunches for us missionaries take to service sites.)

DATES: Sunday to Sunday

SPECIAL DETAILS: Cell phones may be used once in the evening to contact parents; missionaries must maintain a quiet atmosphere in the bedroom areas of the IHM Center, out of respect to sisters who live there.


Where: Managua, Nicaragua

Number: 12 students, 3 adults

Transportation: Fly into Managua, Nicaragua, and meet chartered transportation to arrive at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Managua. Students and Adults will be greeted by Fr. Miguel Mantica, who is the local parish priest who will be hosting the group for the week at his parish.

Approximate Costs: $1200-$1400 for the week.

Service Work: While in Managua, missionaries will serve the parishioners of St. Francis parish, as well as some of the poor who live in the Nueva Vida neighborhood, about 20 minutes outside the city. There is a local school, a soup kitchen, and a rural school where students and teachers will be interacting with the children, learning about their struggles, and finding ways to help them live a better life.

Dining and Accommodations: Missionaries will be staying together in a home at the parish. Missionaries will have access to a kitchen where they will cook many of their own meals, and gather for morning and evening reflections as part of their week.

Dates: Travel dates will be determined based on best price available. Most likely a Sunday departure with a Saturday morning return. Details will be provided once students have been selected and confirmations are made. This information will be distributed to parents at the Mission Trip Dinner.

Special Details: This is the first year for our Nicaraguan Mission Trip, which is supporting Christ the King Parish’s Nicaraguan Relief Ministry. We are excited to be able to provide this opportunity to our students, and we look forward to the new friendships that will develop among our students and the Nicaraguan people.