Assumption Students to Spend Spring Break in N.J., N.Y., Other Locations Engaged in Helping Those in Need
Instead of visiting the beaches of Florida or the Caribbean, nearly 80 Assumption College students have opted to volunteer during their upcoming spring breaks by performing acts of community service in cities and towns up and down the eastern seaboard.
As part of the College’s Campus Ministry Office’s SEND Service Immersion Program, established in 1986, the students – accompanied by faculty, staff and alumni – will participate in a weeklong experience that integrates service to communities in need with education about that area’s culture and opportunities for personal reflection rooted in the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching. Through their participation in this program, students are responding to the call of Pope Francis to go out into the world to be among the poor.
The “Alternative Spring Break” SEND program runs March 8-15, during Assumption’s student spring break. The students will volunteer at the following locations: Baltimore, Md. (Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Charities); Camden, N.J. (Romero Center Ministries); Immokalee, Fla. (Immokalee Friendship House, Habitat for Humanity and Redlands Migrant Christian Association); Georgetown, Del. (Habitat for Humanity and Delaware State Parks); Norristown, Penn. (Habitat for Humanity and Variety Club); Staten Island, N.Y. (Project Hospitality); Trenton, N.J. (Center for FaithJustice); and Washington, D.C. (Bethlehem House and Capitol Hill Ministries).
“SEND trips offer students and leaders an opportunity to serve others, to foster community, and to gain insight into our personal spiritual lives,” said SEND Coordinator Vincent Sullivan-Jacques. “Participants develop strong bonds with other Assumption students, staff, faculty and alumni through a combination of shared service experiences, prayer activities, immersion opportunities, and critical reflection rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition.”
Assumption’s SEND Program provides to students these unique service opportunities three times a year, during the winter, spring and summer. In January, more than 20 Assumption College students volunteered in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Ecuador.
In Tuscaloosa, 12 students helped Habitat for Humanity rebuild a 119-year-old house with a collapsing roof. The students also visited historic sites and monuments marking milestone events of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
“One reason why I love Assumption is that it provides and encourages students to become involved in more than just their immediate community, and the SEND experience has helped me to grow as a person and realize the importance of service,” said one of the Tuscaloosa participants, senior Mary Guinee, of Topsfield, Mass., who is majoring in history with a concentration in secondary education and minoring in human services and rehabilitation studies. “What appealed to me about SEND is that it offers trips and opportunities throughout the year, which made it easy to accommodate my busy schedule. Being a member of the SEND and Assumption communities has enabled me to tailor my education to what interests me, and allowed me to explore outside my comfort zone.”
Eight students traveled to Ecuador in January to volunteer with the Rostro de Cristo ministry organization, through which students have the opportunity to live, work and pray in communities in Durán and Guayaquil, Ecuador.
A trip to Pine Ridge, South Dakota, where students will volunteer for the Re-Member organization, is being planned.
Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College