Students, alumni, staff share skills on Spring Break mission trips


Forty-two members of the Saint Francis family traveled to Jamaica and Costa Rica over the school’s spring break recess to perform mission work.

Twenty-two students, five alumni and two staff members traveled to Maggotty, Jamaica, on a medical mission trip. The group included physical and occupational therapy students who formed rehabilitation teams.

The volunteers stayed at the Holy Spirit Church in Maggoty. The church’s campus includes a medical clinic, church, convent, library, playground and kitchen, as well as housing for volunteers.

The trips were made possible through the HUGS (Helping the Underprivileged by Giving our Service) organization at Saint Francis, a division of SFU’s Center for Service and Learning.

“We’ve been going there since 2013,” said Lisa Georgiana, the director of SFU’s Center for Service and Learning, who accompanied students to Jamaica. “This is our fifth year.”

In addition to the students from the health sciences, three business students made the trip. They interviewed entrepreneurs in the Maggotty region and distributed eight small loans to Jamaican residents looking to launch businesses.

“The unemployment rate in Jamaica is very high,” said Georgiana.

The travel party to Costa Rica included 20 students, one alumnus and one SFU staff member.

The majority of the Costa Rica group were physician assistant students. Several members of the party were Spanish minors who had the opportunity to increase their proficiency in the language.

“HUGS Jamaica was one of the best trips that I’ve ever had,” said one of the students on the trip.