Home Sweet Home Retreat

Where one man's cardboard box is another man's "Home Sweet Home"

This retreat is currently being offered as an all day retreat for high school students only (grades 9-12). In a world where so many are focused inward, this retreat encourages students to focus outward to the needs of those in their midst. By becoming aware of the needs of others ~ such as parents, siblings or friends ~ students will see how simple it is to make a difference. "In every moment of your life, an opportunity awaits you to make a difference in the life of another," Kelly Ann Lynch will tell them after sharing stories from her own teen years and the lives she touched and those that touched hers.

Kelly will explain how losing lifelong family friend, Father Mychal Judge, in the September 11 terrorist attacks changed her life forever. She will go on to tell how her 11 year-old daughter, Shannon, discovered a unique way to remember Father Mychal ~ by collecting socks for the homeless. In a simple project, Kelly's daughter found a way for her family to grieve ~ by helping others. Kelly will share some of the special stories of men, women and children she met in shelters, soup kitchens, and on the St. Francis of Assisi Breadline in New York City. She will show the students a picture of a man sleeping in a cardboard box and challenge them to respond and to act ~ "What would you do if that were your father or brother?"

Members from the National Coalition for the Homeless (Washington, DC) will present top speakers from their Speakers Panel at this retreat and will captivate the teens with their heartwarming, sad, funny and very practical stories.

Students will participate in small group sharing, the "Anita Home Flat Friend Project" (creating a man or woman, giving him/her an identity and a story) and walk on a Breadline for lunch. The retreat will conclude with a special prayer service focusing on twelve men and women who have answered God's call to service and will encourage the teens to do the same.

Chaperones and Fees

Chaperones (1 per 10 students) and a team of adults (6-8) from your school or parish are needed for this retreat. In addition to Kelly Ann Lynch's fees, please note that this retreat has additional fees [National Coalition for the Homeless speakers' stipends ($300), travel expenses and hotel if needed (from Washington DC), Breadline lunch supplies, "Anita Home Flat Friend Project" supplies].

Created by Shannon Hickey, "Home Sweet Home" began in 2005 as an overnight retreat. Students in grades 9-12 slept outside in cardboard boxes to raise funds and awareness for the plight of the homeless and poor. "Home Sweet Home" (overnight retreat) is offered annually at St. Leo the Great, Lancaster, PA.

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