Forget the suntan lotion, bikini and juicy novel. Instead, College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) students packed for partly cloudy, slightly cool, and close to home for the annual spring break trip down the turnpike, March 4 to 9, 2012.
Once in Philadelphia and Chester, Pa., vacation was far from their mind as students tended to the needs of the young, elderly, hungry, and disadvantaged for this year’s spring break service trip. Whether visiting Chester East Side Ministries, the Church of the Advocate soup kitchen, or the recently re-opened Saint James School, in Philadelphia, the goal was always the same: giving back to the community. Five CSE students participated in the trip: Daniela Bartley, ’14, Justice Studies; Adia Boyd, ’15, Math and Art with a concentration of Women’s Studies; Sarah Briant, ’15, Math, American Studies, and Education; Elisha Tard, ’14, Justice Studies; and Kathlyn Tharaphy, ’15, Sociology. Nanette Spedden, director of the CSE Center for Volunteerism and Service Learning, coordinated the trip with the help of CSE Campus Minister Marie M. Noel.
"The trip focused on learning firsthand about social justice issues such as the cycle of poverty, hunger, homelessness, civil rights, women’s issues, and education in urban environments from the point of view of Catholic social teachings, explained Spedden. Hands-on service occurred, with the focus on “being present,” or listening to the clients that are served and serving with those clients.
“Each year at spring break, we offer students a chance to live out of the mission of the College,” says Spedden. “Students who participate always come away with experiences that simply cannot be taught in the classroom. They find that they can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than themselves…they find the sunshine, often close to home.”