Service makes the world go ’round

Chow, Braford and Pentimonti process the peaches. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Braford

Chow, Braford and Pentimonti process the peaches. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Braford

Chow, Braford and Pentimonti process the peaches. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Braford

By Cristina Shaffer BPS '18

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Sophomore Anneliese Thumann volunteers in Peru. Photo courtesy of Patty Thumann

Sophomore Anneliese Thumann volunteers in Peru. Photo courtesy of Patty Thumann


While many Bellarmine students sent the summer traveling, relaxing poolside, playing sports, and hanging out with friends, a select few students devoted more than a week of their summer serving God and those in need by participating in service trips.

Junior Michelle Smith spent almost a week laboring in Mexico, building three houses. She traveled with her parish, University Place Presbyterian Church, through Amore Ministries with 51 other people- including 40 high school students. She described the experience as something “much deeper than just building a house: I was building a relationship with everyone around me

and God. This trip helped me to see that God was in my life working through the people I was meeting and through all their hardships within life they still had peace and hope. This mission was a much needed step for me to realize how blessed I am and that God is always with me, leading me though very moment of my life. Not only did it strengthen my relationship with God, it made His path for me clearer.”

Juniors Kelsey Braford, Sarah Chow and Audrey Pentimonti participated in the First Presbyterian Church youth program’s “Gleanings for the Hungry” trip. The three girls spent ten days working at a peach processing plant in Dinuba, California. The plant “uses non-aesthetically pleasing but still edible fruit, dries them, and sends packages of the fruit to the hungry all over the world” (

This was Braford’s fourth time participating in the trip. She continues to return to this opportunity each summer because “not only because it provides food for those in need, but is also a great experience to volunteer. My perspective changed the first year I went in that I realized how big the world is, and how amazing my life is. Even my ‘bad days’ are great in comparison to what others go through daily.”

Pentimonti had similar things to say about the trip. “Not only did I grow in my relationship with Christ, but also with my friends and peers. I was left with a better understanding and appreciation of how my actions, even the small ones, can make such a big impact on those in need. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and through this trip I felt like I hear God’s call to serve more clearly.”

Chow described the mission as “an overall happiness that came from serving and knowing that we were all doing something God meant for us to do. Once you realize that you really are capable of impacting lives on the other side of the world, it changes everything because suddenly there’s hardly anything stopping you.”

All these women plan on pursuing service opportunities in the future, hoping to continue to help those who need it.

And underclasspersons are involved, too. Sophomore Anneliese Thumann spent three weeks in Peru helping the Andahuaylas community, helping in a local doll making company or in the fields. Thumann traveled with GLA (Global Leadership Adventures) with not only other Americans, but others as well, all complete strangers. “The work we did made a huge impact on the local community because most of the money went back into the community instead of paying the workers.” Thumann also spent time touring around Peru, including a trip to world-famous Machu Picchu. “It definitely made me realize my love of community service and traveling. I am now more grateful for everything I have and I am more determined than ever to start finding more ways to give back.”

Despite the different places and actions these students served in, they all agree that service isn’t a bore or a requirement, but rather an opportunity and chance to strengthen friendships and faith.



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Service makes the world go ’round