Saint Ignatius High School

Cleveland Mission Trip Reflection: Alex Gee '20

Rising junior Alex Gee '20 shares his thoughts about the Cleveland Mission Trip, a four-day immersion into the world of homelessness and homeless outreach. This was the second year of the revived trip, which takes place entirely within the city limits.

The Cleveland Mission Trip was an amazing and life changing experience for me. The people I met and places I saw throughout the week will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have gained a new perspective on the city in which we live.

Going into the mission trip my experiences with homelessness had been relatively limited. I had served many meals at soup kitchens and various centers around the city before but I never really took the time to connect with any of the people that I had served. During the Cleveland Mission Trip, I was given the opportunity to talk with some of the people that I served and I learned so much from them. I gained an insight into how each person had gotten into the situation that they were in and how they were surviving every day. Most importantly, I saw the incredible amount of faith and optimism in the people I was able to speak with, and it gave me a new appreciation for how fortunate I am to have all of the opportunities that I have.

Throughout the mission trip, I got a glimpse into another side of Cleveland that I had never seen before. Through visiting all of the centers that provide aid, walking just some of the distances that the homeless have to walk every single day of every year, and visiting various homeless camps throughout the city I was able to see a different side of Cleveland. I would have never thought that homelessness was this large of a problem in the city that I have grown up in if it weren’t for this trip.

This trip also gave me a newfound understanding of the extremely complex problem that is homelessness. I had never thought about how easy it is to end up homeless. Many of the people I was able to hear from throughout the week never did anything wrong to end up homeless. Sometimes it is just as simple as not having transportation to work. Also, I would have never thought that homeless shelters can be worse than living on the streets. I never would have known about all the violence that happens to homeless people every single day. These are some of the countless revelations that I had during this trip.

What I got out of this trip was a new perspective on a problem that is plaguing our city and countless other cities around the world. I have gained a new understanding of the problem and a greater appreciation for all that I have. Also, I have a greater desire to serve and get involved than ever before. Those are the reasons that the Cleveland Mission Trip was so special to me.