In 2016, I spent my spring break in New Orleans through EC Alternative Spring Break, frequently abbreviated as ASB. The trip was so transformative for me that I eagerly applied to be part of ASB once again this year. I was one of 19 students who was part of the trip, which was without a doubt one of the highlights of my college experience.
In Arizona, we split up and served with two different organizations. I was part of the group that served with The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and another part of our group served at the Andre House of Hospitality. Although our days were spent at different organizations, both groups lived together, took part in nightly reflections as a large group, and spent free time with each other.
The St. Vincent de Paul group had the opportunity to work at a number of sites that SVdP operates throughout Phoenix. Some of our tasks included meal preparation and serving, taking inventory at a thrift store, sorting and packaging donations, and making uplifting cards for people who benefit from St. Vincent de Paul’s services. We received two detailed tours of sites to gain insight into their operations. We also gained a deeper understanding of hunger and homelessness, along with new perspectives. Being able to make connections with people who face these issues made me more aware, more appreciative, and more compassionate.
I am grateful to have seen life in another part of the country throughout that week. It was particularly impactful to see how issues I have worked with in Boston manifest themselves in another city. I feel fortunate to have built yet another little community within Emmanuel and to have renewed my passion for social justice. It’s no exaggeration to say that Emmanuel’s Alternative Spring Break program has changed my life. I can’t recommend this experience strongly enough.