Over the summer, Jean Angel, a Physical Therapist Assistant student, and Jordan Schmitt, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing student, were able to combine this dual emphasis on head and heart with a trip to the United Nations. Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters allow students from the various Mercy-tradition colleges through the country to join them in a “U.N. immersion experience,” where students accompany the Sisters as they advocate for the poor and vulnerable at the U.N. in New York City, and share strategies of advocating locally that students take home with them.
In the words of Jordan, “This opportunity was valuable because it was empowering. We have the tools and resources to make a difference in people's lives. And any bit helps. Not only will our work benefit those we come in contact with, but through the butterfly effect, with people those individuals influence. Our work in the community can make a huge difference.”
In order to “bring home” these strategies, and in particular to speak to the nationwide problem of Human Trafficking and its ramifications for the Des Moines area, Jean and Jordan are presenting what they learned at the U.N. immersion here at Mercy College during Mercy Week. As this immersion experience was put on by the Sisters of Mercy, it only makes sense to include this vital information during Mercy Week, among the many other activities hosted at the College to celebrate the Spirit of the Mercy Charism.
Jean and Jordan will speak about the immersion trip itself in order to inform fellow students of future opportunities (the Sisters host such a trip every two years), but will turn their emphasis toward Human Trafficking, how to recognize it in our communities, and what can be done locally.
Jean puts it succinctly: “Des Moines has a high volume of traffic due to the intersection of interstates 80 and 35. This traffic makes Des Moines and its surrounding area susceptible to human trafficking, or the exploitation of individuals, especially women and children. Human trafficking is a key area of interest for the Sisters of Mercy and, while at the United Nations, they raise awareness of this issue by utilizing their voice to write policy and promote a just world for all people.”
Jean and Jordan both hope that they can educate youth and those who care for them alike, in order to “to reduce the incidence of exploitation while promoting justice and empowering the underprivileged” according to Jean.
Join Us on Monday, September 26th at 5:00 p.m.
Sullivan Center Room 130 on the Mercy College Campus
FREE and Open to the Public.