2010 Alternative Spring Break
During Spring Break 2010, Emmanuel students can participate in a week long service project. Recently students and staff traveled to Phoenix, AZ, New Orleans, LA, and Wheeling, WV.
Andre House is a non-profit organization sponsored by the Priests and Brothers of holy ross from the University of Notre Dame. Located in downtown Phoenix, Andre House serves the poor and homeless. Andre House offers basic services to poor and homeless people, as well as educational and volunteer experiences for all those interested. Students spent the week with the Andre house staff doing office work, laundry, clothes sorting and distribution and food preparation and service.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul. Students spent the week performing several different tasks, including: food preparation and service, working in their special ministries program and inventory and containerizing in their food bank.
The group lived together for the week at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery.
"Working in Phoenix opened my eyes to the needs of others. Never before had I felt that in giving something so simple as my time, I would get so much in return."
-Jon Ahern '11, student leader
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Sisters of the Holy Family
The Sisters of the Holy Family, an African American Congregation of Pontifical Status, was founded by a free woman of African descent, Henriette DeLille, in New Orleans, Louisiana some twenty years before the Emancipation Proclamation. Henriette DeLille and her friend, Juliette Gaudin, born in Cuba of Haitian parents, dedicated their lives to God and began their work of educating the children of slaves, caring for the sick, the poor and the elderly. Because of social customs and legislation regarding persons of African descent, the Sisters of the Holy Family were not officially recognized until 1842. Josephine Charles, also a free woman of color, joined them the following year.
The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family have maintained their original ministries of educating youth and caring for the aged, the poor, and the most abject of society. They own and operate the oldest continuous Catholic home for the aged in the United States, and operate two independent facilities for low-income senior citizens in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Sisters are administrators and educators of two pre-school child development centers, one primary free school for the poor, two high schools, and seventeen elementary schools in the United States, and an on-going involvement in the Diocese of Benin City, Nigeria West Africa, and founded the first vocational school in Belize, Central America for those students who are unable to attend regular high school classes. The Sisters have missions in Louisiana, Texas, California, Washington D.C., and Belize, Central America.
The group lived and worked with the Sisters of the Holy Family for the week. The group toured New Orleans and assisted the sisters with the continued work they have done for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
"I was amazed at the spirirt of the people on the city. They have all faced so much in the past, but no one ever seemed bitter, they were the most grateful people I have ever met! We were shown so much love and appreciation for coming down from everyone we met."
-Carolyn Lembo '09, student leader
Wheeling, West Virginia
The Laughlin Memorial Chapel
The Laughlin Memorial Chapel sponsors a week long service trip to provide a context for servant ministry, including work, worship, study and/or reflection as well as community building in the midst of different cultures, races and ages in order to understand better our unity in Christ and our ministry in Christ's name. Students worked in three areas during the week: 1.) renovation of deteriorating housing within the urban core of Wheeling. 2.) Participation in the Chapel's daily after school program featuring academic enrichment programs; art and music enrichment programs, and evening youth programs. 3.) Service at the Catholic Neighborhood Center, a soup kitchen next to the Chapel.
The Chapel is located in the urban core of Wheeling, West Virginia, a small urban environment within Appalachia, with a population of 30,000 people. East Wheeling, the primary neighborhood for alternative break involvement, has great poverty with the median family income being less than half of that within the general area. Thirty-eight percent of the housing within the community is abandoned. Ninety-two percent of the 350 children and youth who attend the Chapel's programs annually qualify for free/reduced meals at school. There is much racial diversity ithin the neighborhood, with over 2/3 of the children and youth served being African-American. Most of the alternative break work sites are located within two miles of the Chapel.
Students find these opportunities to be very life-giving. They have a chance to help others, to pray and reflect on their experiences, and to live in a communal setting that helps bond them to each other and to the culture they are living in.
In the past years after the Alternative Spring Break service trips have concluded, Campus Ministry has hosted the Annual Alternative Spring Break Benefit Luncheon. The students, staff and alumni who have participated in the program invite family, friends, faculty and staff to learn about the experience of Alternative Spring Break in Phoenix, AZ, New Orleans, LA, and Wheeling, WV. The proceeds from the luncheon benefit the Alternative Spring Break program, which encourages Emmanuel students to spend a week away serving the marginalized of our society, and in the end promoting social justice.
For more information about Alternative Spring Break, please contact the Campus Ministry Office.