Recently we had to cancel one of our immersion retreats through our Ozanam Center, since there was not enough student participation. As an alumnus of the University of Dayton, I was obviously disappointed. It felt to me that perhaps Cincinnati was not good enough for a Spring Break service trip – perhaps it did not have the allure of a big, far-away city. Cincinnati is often assumed to be the same as Dayton; this statement could not be further from the truth. I think that each community and city is different with their own unique culture. It takes experiencing the place before you can judge what is like. People matter so much more than the place does.
I remember believing that the place mattered most when I was at U.D. I soon found that no matter where I traveled that no attraction gave me a enjoyment or growth as being with friends or family. I was not expecting or wanting to do a year of service in my home town, but I did. Not only have been able to serve my local community, but I have also truly gotten to know my city, and more importantly, its people. I also learned a lesson in humility and faith as I follow the calling of God and trust that I will learn my way. “Cincinnati has nothing to do” is a statement I often hear. Come on down to my city – let me show you all the things you can do!
Opening Day for the Reds is today and there are not many days more important than this for Cincinnati. Being native to Cincinnati, it is important to participate in our wonderful city culture. The Findlay Market parade is fun for all ages and all people. Cincinnati is a segregated city, but nothing brings us together like our Reds. How can you not enjoy America’s past-time on opening day in the city with the first professional franchise? I see a true sense of community in the city that exists not only during this time but all over the city, a sense of belonging to this city that I have not found anywhere else. It is home.