Vocation over Vacation
Student travels to India to offer informal education to children
When Lindsay Mason, ’09, left Loyola to travel to an impoverished community in India in January, she hoped to discover more about herself, her faith and her vocation through her work with children in need.
“I knew I wanted to see the world,” said Mason, a 22-year-old from Pompton Plains, N.J., who had completed her coursework toward her degree and decided to spend her last semester abroad. “But I also wanted to learn how fortunate I am and give back to others.”
In India, Mason worked with an organization called Mobile Crèche, which establishes temporary schools for children whose parents work on construction sites. The schools provide structure and an informal education to children who otherwise would have no access to education, no oversight to keep them safe in dangerous construction zones, nowhere to play—essentially no childhood.
Mason partnered with Mobile Crèche teachers to plan activities, games, crafts and lessons—an experience that dovetailed with her professional ambition to become an art therapist.
“I want to start a therapeutic clinic for children who have experienced difficult times,” she said. And she has another dream: “to counsel and heal children in Africa and India through art and creativity.”
Discerning her path
Raised in a tradition of service, Mason recalled how her parents led by example, teaching her brothers and her always to give to others. Her mother was her Girl Scout leader, which proved pivotal as Mason considered her overseas service options.
After debating whether to join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps or Peace Corps, Mason decided instead to volunteer in India through the Girl Scouts, where she lived in the Girl Scout World Center in Pune.
As a leader for Loyola’s Sophomore Initiatives RoadTrip program—a three-day retreat weekend where sophomores discern their sources of joy, gifts and talents, and the needs of the community—Mason, a psychology major with a studio art minor, realized that she wanted her life to be both about helping others and artistic expression. Experiences in the Student Leadership Corps revealed Mason’s leadership skills and helped her become a more well-rounded person.
“Loyola has really played a pivotal role in the woman I’ve become,” Mason said. “The Jesuit core values have taught me to truly discern aspects of my life and question the thoughts in my mind. I’ve learned about the power of service and the duty we have to give back to others. I felt very much a part of an amazing community while I also realized who I am as an individual.”
Check out Lindsay’s blog
Experience Lindsay Mason’s service abroad trip in India through her eyes. Read her blog and see more photos at http://lindsaysinindia.blogspot.com/.
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