Students Serve Others during Winter Break
January 6, 2020
During the last week of their winter break, 140 Saint Anselm students are helping those in need at 12 organizations across the United States through Winter Break Alternative (WBA), Campus Ministry’s Service & Solidarity Missions Trips Program. The groups departed from campus on Jan. 4 and 5, and will return to campus on Jan 11.
Twenty-four student-leaders managing groups of 6-10 students on each trip, are taking a “hands on” approach to service in places as close as Manchester, N.H., and as far away as Sabana Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Students are building and renovating homes, tutoring children, serving food, and visiting with families and individuals from the communities in which they’re working.
A new trip this year, the Disaster Relief group is in Panama City, Florida, working with Community Collaborations assisting the community in direct relief efforts following Hurricane Michael in 2018. Beyond physical rebuilding, they are working in local organizations, such as food banks and afterschool programs, to ensure the organizations are able to meet the needs of the community.
In addition to Florida, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico, this year’s program is taking students to Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia.
“Saint Anselm College strives to educate the whole person, and we hope that this program contributes to this by giving students the opportunity to grow personally, spiritually, and as citizens, becoming more conscious of their actions and more aware of the world around them,” says Campus Minister Riley Casey '15.
“These wonderful service trips have been going on for 30 years, and the opportunity to serve alongside others and build community in some amazing places has brought me such joy during my time on the Hilltop,” says Maggie Sheridan ’20. The nursing major is leading the Cultural Engagement and Sustainability trip with Christian Damian ’20 to Puerto Rico. They will help families rebuild their homes, provide tutoring and school repair, and assist in restoring the environment and parks which were destroyed by hurricane Maria in 2017. Spanish Professor Elizabeth Fouts and staff member Janet Poirier are also on the trip.
It has been 30 years since Campus Ministry sent the first group of Anselmians to Maine during spring break. In that time, Service and Solidarity Missions has grown significantly including the addition of Winter Break Alternative trips in 2011. While the winter break trips were initially added to give athletes an opportunity to participate, the number of all students interested during that time continues to increase.
Casey reiterates, “The program has expanded greatly over the years, but the heart of it remains the same, to give students an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ.”