Opportunity Village is Nevada’s largest private, nonprofit community rehabilitation program, serving nearly 2,000 adults with disabilities. Yet, to middle school students from St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas, it was all new.

Last month, they spent five days working on site at the Las Vegas campus, helping to empower residents and learn about putting their faith in action, through a hands-on Catholic youth mission, called Just5Days.

JUST5DAYS is one of six programs designed for young adults by the Center for Ministry Development, based in Gig Harbor, Washington. It is a five-day experience of service, hands-on learning activities, prayer and liturgy, and community building designed for middle school youth and their adult leaders from Catholic parishes.

Turns out, their service at Opportunity Village left a lasting impact on the young teens themselves.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” says Associate Rosy Hartz, who led the group of 22 students and four adults, including Pre-Associate Anthony Gugino. “The week was centered around Catholic social teachings, prayer and service.”

St. Viator teens helped their clients to create art and also learned about the variety of employment opportunities for adults through the Village, including vocational training and working in the community.

“They learned how clients receive a paycheck from their employer by doing everything from separating condiments to creating packets of utensils for local casinos,” Rosy adds.

The week centered on the theme, Called to be Saints. Youth were challenged to respond to the call and to be young world changers.