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Magis Message: Alissa Van Dress '25

Major: Marketing

Minor: Creative Writing, English: Professional Writing, Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Hometown: Amherst, OH

Favorite Quote: “Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”

This semester, I am representing JCU at a residential home within the L’Arche Community. The name “L’Arche” derives from a French word meaning “the ark,” which refers to none other than Noah’s Ark. The L’Arche Community is an international faith community that strives to implement this theme of a safe haven like that of Noah’s Ark for people with and without disabilities who share their lives together everyday. L’Arche stresses the phrase, “be with L’Arche members, not 'do f

or” them” to communicate that we 'are all capable of our own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs no matter our differences.

With certainty, a positive attitude contributes to an immeasurable impact on everyone involved. I am grateful to have such a cheerful group who collectively exerts joy in every activity that we do with the L’Arche community. In our activities, we learn from each other and get to relax while playing games and sharing a meal. When cracking jokes, upbeat energy radiates from our laughter and smiles. This service experience reaffirms the fact that everything's brighter with a positive mindset and that we have the power to uplift spirits in our priceless acts of kindness.

Going into this service activity, I wanted to view the experience with a clear lens. I put aside any expectations that I may have had and opened my mind to new perspectives. In doing this, I feel that I have heightened my connection with both my group and the L’Arche community. Every time we arrive at the service location, I cannot help but smile knowing that we are changing not only the residents’ lives but also our own. The best part is that it doesn’t cost us a cent to have a great time all together; it truly is a free gift given and received!


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