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The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

Spreading Joy at Terra Livre

Dowling students and staff travel to Brazil
Dowling staff and students with the Terra Livre founder, staff, and camera crew [T. Clark]

Dowling Catholic has been going on the Terra Livre trip to Brazil for fourteen years. To get there it’s 14 to 15 hours of travel. The purpose of the trip is to see others the way God intends. The children are victims of neglect and violence and the goal of the trip is for Dowling students to show the children love and for the students to feel love in return. Students stay with a host family during their trip. They become a part of the family while they are there. They have dinner with them, they hang out with them and feel like they are a member of the family. Ut Fidem coordinator Kirby Power is still in touch with her host family from years ago. 

While in Brazil, Dowling students play with the children on the playground and do other activities together. It can be difficult because of the language barrier between the people but they say that speaking different languages doesn’t change a thing. The goal of the trip is to make Dowling students become more open and vulnerable. They want the students to feel the love and energy of the kids at the center as well as for the kids and families to benefit from the students being there. This year, ten Dowling students went, as well as teachers Mr. Clark, Mr. Lensing and Mrs. Schulte. Next summer, Dowling students are going to Guatemala where they will have the opportunity to build a house for those in need. There will be no Terra Livre trip next year.

Abby Ziegert having fun with the children. [A. Ziegert]

Abby Ziegert (‘24) is one of the students who went on the Brazil trip. Before going on the trip, Abby knew she would get to have fun with the kids and she was very excited. “It didn’t meet my expectations because it went beyond them. The pouring out of love that you receive at the center is so insane and such an unforgettable experience,” says Ziegert. 

Ziegert’s host family was a family of 5. “At first they were kind of shy, but learning how to communicate with them because they didn’t speak English was really cool,” says Ziegert. Abby really connected with her family and enjoyed having deep conversations with the mother.

Abby’s favorite part of the trip was the love she felt from the kids at the center. The kids always wanted hugs and piggy back rides. “I was still running around with kids right before we had to say goodbye to them for the last time,” says Ziegert. The excitement the kids had to do such simple things was very special.

Their service showed Brazil that not all Americans are self-centered. “I feel like we represented where we are from very well,” says Ziegert. They got to show the kids that they are open to learning about their culture. Abby hopes that the kids remember the feeling of love, even if they don’t remember their names or faces. She learned a lot on this trip, especially how to show compassion towards others because you never know a person’s story.

Taylor Tallman hugging one of the kids at the center. [T. Tallman]

Taylor Tallman (‘23) also went on the service trip. From this experience, she learned the importance of gratitude and living in the moment. She hopes that she can carry the joy she felt on this trip into her daily life. Before going on the trip, she knew it would be a powerful experience, but she didn’t expect it to be this amazing. “It helped me to really get a new perspective on my life and everything I do,” says Tallman. 

Taylor felt very safe with her host family. Her family had a lot of passion for their culture and wanted Taylor to feel welcome and comfortable. 

Taylor’s favorite part was the first day when they arrived in Brazil. “It was so crazy, just how much love they have and how much they want to give,” says Tallman. She hopes she left an impact on the children. “At the end of the day I just hope that they experience love throughout the week,” says Tallman.

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About the Contributors
Alaina Cleghorn
Alaina Cleghorn, Staff Writer
Alaina Cleghorn is a junior at Dowling Catholic. She plays on the JV volleyball team and is involved in Ut Fidem and Students for Life. In her free time, she likes to paint, travel, and spend time with friends and family. She loves animals, especially her 8-year-old Cavapoo named Maisy.
Mackenzie Branstad
Mackenzie Branstad, Staff Writer
Mackenzie Branstad is a junior at Dowling Catholic High School. She is involved in Best Buddies, Student Ambassadors, Super Cool Service Club, and Ut Fidem. She also runs cross country and plays tennis. Outside of school Mackenzie loves to hang out with her friends, shop, travel, and go on walks outside. Mackenzie's favorite color is blue and she has three younger sisters. Mackenzie is a newcomer to the Dowling Catholic Post and is so excited to be a part of the staff.

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