Over 100 students travelled to nine sites for spring break

Shannon Fahy, Copy Editor

102 students travelled throughout the country to participate in Spring Break Alternative (SBA) this year. There were 9 sites that students went to this year: Aberdeen MS, Detroit MI, Houston TX, Manchester NH, Orland ME, Philadelphia PA, Phoenix AZ, Ridgley MD, and Lewis County KY.

Joycelin Raho, coordinator of the service programs for Campus Ministry, commented “There were new sites to Habitat for Humanity in Detroit and Houston, and the rest we have had long standing relationships with.”

In Arizona, a group worked at Andre House, a hospitality house for the homeless and hungry. They spent time tidying and fixing up the place in addition to preparing meals, handing out clothing, help guests make phone calls and receive medication.

Group leader, Allyn Doyle ’13 commented, “We also had the chance to sit outside and talk with the individuals living on the streets as we collected donations and handed out oranges and grapefruits to those who wanted them.” Participants were given one of many tasks during dinner time. They served meals, handed out meal tickets, collecting trays, washing dishes or washing large pots and pans with a high-power hose outside.

“Our trip to Andre House was truly eye-opening and life-changing. We learned that homelessness can affect anyone at any point in time and that the stereotypes we often hold to be true about the homeless (that they are drug addicts; that they are alcoholics; that they simply are not trying hard enough to pull themselves out of poverty) simply do not hold up when one finally has the chance to sit and talk with someone who is living on the streets. Homeless individuals each have their own unique story and there is no way to know what that story is just by looking at the surface,” commented Doyle

Kerrin O’Connor, one of the leaders on the Manchester Service and Solidarity Mission trip, noted, “While many of the other trips were traveling across the country, my group got the unique and powerful opportunity to serve in our own backyard. Throughout the week we volunteered at a few different sites throughout Manchester.”

They prepared food at New Horizons Soup Kitchen, searched for and got rid of bed bugs at Langdon Mills, in addition to helping at their after school program. The participants also worked at the International Institute, a headquarters for refugees in Manchester. They cleaned up around the institute, worked in English Language Learner (ELL) classrooms, helped refugees write resumes, worked on their farm, and helped tutor.

O’Connor said that the best part of the experience was picking up an Iraqi family at the airport. “The family was so warm and welcoming and excited to share their experience with us. Seeing the family reunited for the first time was an incredibly powerful moment that will stay with each and every one of us.”

The group that went to Kentucky worked at Glenmary Farm, which is a Catholic organization trying to bring the Catholic faith to poverty stricken areas and those in need.

One of the leaders of the trip, Brandon Early ’14, commented, “We worked around the farm, but the majority if our work was ministry of presence, just being with people, like little kids, mentally challenged people or elderly people.”

There were three other colleges working on the farm with the participants: Walsh University, Loyola Maryland, and Loyola Chicago.

The group that went to Maine worked at H.O.M.E. stacking wood and repairing shingles. The weather was less than idea, as it was raining and snowing while they were working outside.

Those whom I have talked to have thoroughly enjoyed the experiences they had on their SBA trips.