Neumann students participate in Immokalee Service Week

A group of 23 students from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, accompanied by five chaperones, embarked on a transformative five-day service trip in Immokalee.

The group travelled about 40 minutes from their school to Immokalee, a short physical distance but a long spiritual journey that surprised many in how deeply it impacted them. In Immokalee, the young men and women learned about the Collier County community that is home to many farms and food processing facilities and is also one of the poorest in the country.

Delaying other fun summer plans, such as going to the beach or on vacation, or preparing for the next sports season, from May 28-31, 2024, the Neumann students dedicated themselves to volunteering at various impactful organizations, including Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, the Pepper Ranch Preserve, Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee, and the Guadalupe Center.

The students stayed at the Bethal Retreat House and their evenings were filled with a blend of spirituality and camaraderie as the group attended daily Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, listened to inspirational testimonies, and engaged in prayer and playful activities. It was a journey of service, reflection, and community bonding that left a lasting impact on all involved.

The theme for the week was based on a quote from St. John Bosco – “If one is to do good, he must have a little courage, be ready for sacrifice, deal affably with all and never slight anybody.” Each of the students wore T-shirts with that quote printed on the back.

The annual service trip was organized and led by Sisters Nicole Daley and Juliana Alfonso, Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, both of whom are on the faculty at St. John Neumann. To start the week, they prayed each student would gain a renewed sense of Christian Service from their experience.

Sister Juliana said the transformation of the students during the week was inspiring as they came to realize the real and lasting impact their hard work was having for their brothers and sisters in Christ.

The enthusiasm of the students to put Catholic Social Teaching into practice was reflected in the effort and care they put into each task they were assigned. When asked about what they were learning, several reflected how they were temporarily able to put aside electronic devices and other distractions to focus on others. This allowed them to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

During the week, the students also heard from people who shared their knowledge about the needs of the community. A visit to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a group which fights for the rights of farmworkers locally and nationwide, opened their eyes about the difficult conditions that farmworkers face to support their families.

When helping at Pathways Early Childhood Center the students learned that the lunch the children receive each day is likely the only food they will have access to all day. At Guadalupe Social Services, students helped in the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen and food pantry, two programs which help hundreds of families each month.

St. John Neumann students volunteer thousands of hours each year throughout Collier County. The 2023 graduates completed 10,864 service hours in their four years.


For more information about St. John Neumann Catholic High School, please call 239-455-3044 or visit