Carmel senior’s mission work ‘a calling’
By Beth KRAMER email@example.com September 14, 2012 7:40PM
Carmel High School senior Lexi Miles of Gurnee next to the wall of the four gospels at her school. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: November 14, 2012 1:35AM
GURNEE — Lexi Miles’ idea of a fun summer vacation included laying carpet, cleaning projects, and helping the impoverished and mentally impaired.
Miles, 17, of Gurnee, dedicated a week of her summer for two years running to do mission work at Glenmary Home Missioners, whose mission is to serve Appalachia and the South.
“I needed to go. I felt like it was my calling to go back,” Miles said.
The Carmel Catholic High School senior said the majority of the mission trip was doing two types of service — labor and visiting.
Miles spent a lot of time cleaning up residences. She tackled such projects as painting, laying down carpet and power washing siding.
Before she and some other volunteers could paint a room in a house, they first had to strip seven layers of wallpaper.
“As we painted, a couple of us talked to the (man we were helping). He was funny. He wasn’t well educated. You could tell he was lonely, but when we got there, he smiled right away,” Miles said.
Miles was one of nine Carmel students who did mission work this past summer.
Since she will be graduating in the spring, she won’t be able to return next summer with the Carmel mission, she said.
She is considering attending University of Dayton in Ohio after she graduates from high school.
That university also does mission work with Glenmary, Miles said.
“I came back with the experience of love — a feeling of how blessed I was able to go to school,” Miles said.
“I needed to go. I felt like it was my calling.”
She doesn’t just do mission and service work during her summer vacation.
Every month, she helps prepare and serve a community meal to local needy folks through St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Miles has also helped her family raise funds for cancer.
Her grandfather passed away several years ago from cancer and since then her family has worked to raise money for the cause.
“My parents have always been very giving to the community,” Miles said.
“I grew up that way. It’s just part of who I am.”
Miles is also captain of the woodwind section for band and a Student Council member. She plans on being a dentist.