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Clarke Students Who Journeyed to Ecuador to Present April 27

By Clarke News  |  March 29, 2017

Clarke University Student Theresa Koos; Clarke Director of Dining Services Miles Breed; and Loyal Missionary Tim Moothart will present on their recent trip to Quito, Ecuador, in the R.C. and Celeste Wahlert Atrium in the Fabiano Conference Room on Thursday, April 27, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Reservations for this event are requested by Thursday, April 20, by phone at  (563)588-6799 or online. Walk-ins welcome.

The following was printed in the Winter 2017 issue of our Clarke Alumni Magazine:


A group of Clarke University students, staff, alumni and guests traveled on a mission trip to Quito, Ecuador, after December finals. Student leader Theresa Koos ’17 and Kate Zanger, vice president for Student Life, coordinated the trip in conjunction with Judy Callahan, BVM, and Clarke’s Campus Ministry Office.

The group, which consisted of 17 students, staff and alumni, visited The Working Boys’ Center, or El Centro del Muchacho Trabajodor (CMT), where the BVM sisters and several other groups from Clarke had previously served on mission trips. At the CMT, hundreds of meals are served daily and academic and technical education is provided. The CMT’s mission centers on the development of core values to

promote a successful lifestyle. Clarke volunteers served meals, taught English and technology and completed service projects. They also took a trip on the “Teleférico,” a cable car ride to the top of
Pichincha (13,000 feet), part of the Andes mountain range. The group visited Otavalo, a market for woven goods, and San Antonio de Ibarra, a wood-carving town. A large portion of their time was spent participating in a “Minga,” a Latin American tradition of community support and outreach

which involved clearing a plot and building a house. In addition, they spent a great deal of time working with the Ecuadorian children.

“Playing with the children and experiencing their unconditional love was amazing,” Koos said. “All they wanted from us was attention and care. I was able to teach many children a secret handshake that my cross country coach did with me before every meet. They loved learning the handshake and began teaching other children!”

Miles Breed, Clarke’s director of Dining Services, had an enlightening experience. “The sights, the sounds and the smells all have two sides. For everything you see, there is an opposite. The beauty of the city and its rampant poverty, the smell of fresh street food and the smell of pollution. The sound of happy children playing in the courtyard; the same children will go home to deplorable conditions,” he

said. “I think, most important, is the resilience, tenacity and happiness of the Ecuadorian people who live in such challenging conditions.”

Student Connor Floyd said, “The trip was such an eye-opening experience. We were able to see the contrast between U.S. prosperity and the Latin American poverty which was extremely interesting and saddening.”

Koos said, “When I first envisioned this trip and began planning it, my main goal was to go and change people’s lives by giving the week to service. However, I soon realized I wasn’t going to change their lives, but rather, they would change mine. This trip lit a fire in me to find a local cause in Dubuque to fight for. I witnessed transformations in the lives of others who attended the trip. It is these transformations that made every countless hour of planning worth my while.”

Kari Vize, Clarke’s director of Compass and Career Services, said, “I had the opportunity to watch a group of very dedicated and eager students challenge themselves and their thinking as they were exposed to a new culture, a second language and extreme poverty. While many went with the belief that they would be ‘working’ and providing service to the families who use the Center, they came away with a new understanding of themselves, their values and the things we take for granted every day in our privileged lives.”

Prior to the trip, this group of students worked tirelessly to raise funds to pay for their journey. They hosted a summer cookout, cooked a breakfast for TOMRV (Tour Of the Mississippi River Valley Bicycle Club) competitors, served food at local Dubuque events, completed restaurant fundraisers and organized supply drives to bring books and school supplies to the children.

The students plan to host an informational meeting to give the campus community insight into their accomplishments and encourage future groups of Clarke students to continue this important mission.

For more information about Quito and The Working Boys’ Center, please visit