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Group from Nazareth goes to Washington

ROCKWELL — Any trip to the nation’s capital is a big deal, but for 16 residents of Nazareth Child & Family Connection, it was a trip of a lifetime.

The 16 youths, who live in homes on the Nazareth campus, traveled to Washington recently with seven staff members to get a close look at the historic city that serves as the nerve center of United States government.

“It was an amazing trip. I had never done anything like that,” said Nick, whose real name isn’t being used for privacy. “We visited places and saw things I had only seen on TV.”

The three-day trip included tours of the Smithsonian Museum, Holocaust Museum, Library of Congress, U.S. Capitol, National Museum of the Marine Corps, Bible Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, National Museum of African-American History and Culture, the FBI headquarters and many historic monuments.

“The trip to Washington, D.C., was educational and phenomenal,” said Karla Harvey, sanctuary (trauma model) coordinator at Nazareth, who was a chaperone on the trip. “Visiting each monument and the exhibits gave our youth and staff the opportunity to gain knowledge of our history and our ancestors’ passage to freedom is unparalleled.

“In fact, we are living out the dreams of our ancestors. From the National Museum of the Marines to the Holocaust Museum to Arlington National Cemetery to the Lincoln Memorial to the African-American Museum, all offered a new perspective regarding the importance of knowing and understanding the holistic meaning of history.”

The three days were long, beginning at 6 a.m. and ending after 9 p.m., but it was well worth it, according to Stephanie, another Nazareth resident who made the trip.

“We jammed a lot into each day, but I loved every minute of it. I learned a lot and it was fun. I’m so thankful that we got to make this trip and do everything we did,” said Stephanie.

The Washington trip was the first of what Nazareth staff hopes will become annual educational trips to historic and informative locations.

“These trips are important for our residents for so many reasons,” said Vernon Walters, president and CEO of Nazareth. “They provide an opportunity to travel, which could be a first for many residents and gives them a glance of a different part of our country. It’s also a chance for them to understand how our great nation was formed and learn about many of the heroes who helped that process.”

The Washington trip was funded by anonymous individual and business donors.

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