Assumption Students Spend Winter Break Making an Impact On Communities Throughout the U.S. and Abroad
Forty-seven Assumption students, staff, and faculty members spent their winter break engaged in various community service projects facilitated by Campus Ministry’s SEND Service Immersion Program. Volunteers embarked on an eight-day journey to either Alabama, Ecuador, Maryland, or New Jersey with a mission to help their host communities.
“Our hope for the students participating in SEND is that they begin to view service as an opportunity to build relationships with others in ways that recognize our shared human dignity and call us to a life of faith in action,” said Vincent Sullivan-Jacques, SEND coordinator and assistant director of Campus Ministry.
Established in 1986, the Office of Campus Ministry’s SEND Service Immersion Program, allows students—accompanied by faculty, staff and alumni—the opportunity to directly impact communities beset by economic difficulties. SEND participants bond with fellow peers, faculty, staff, and alumni while working side-by-side with residents to rebuild neighborhoods, gain new cultural perspective, and engage in prayer activities that reflect on ideals rooted in the Assumptionist tradition. SEND has partnered with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Romero Center Ministries, Catholic Charities, and Rostro de Cristo Ministry to provide helping hands or listening ears to those in need.
The College offers opportunities to put Assumption’s core Catholic values into action through a variety of SEND destinations. During winter break, students spent time working with a number of worthy nonprofits:
- In Baltimore, MD, students spent time working with organizations connected to Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Through the Urban Plunge Retreat, students learned how Catholic Charities provides care and services to improve the lives of Marylanders in need. Students served meals at Our Daily Bread and spend time with people housed at emergency shelters like My Sister’s Place.
- In Tuscaloosa, AL, students worked with tornado relief and recovery organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. In addition to working with Habitat, students had the opportunity to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where they learned about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and ongoing efforts to address racism.
- In Camden, NJ, students visited the Romero Center and participated in the Urban Challenge Program, which is an urban, service learning, immersion experience rooted in the Catholic tradition. During the trip, students spent time with the people of Camden, exposing them to the challenges and hope of daily life in the city of Camden.
- In Guayaquil, Ecuador, students participated in a Service Immersion Retreat at the College’s partner organization in Ecuador, Rostro de Cristo. Rostro de Cristo provides spiritual and educational opportunities for young people from the U.S to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Ecuador. These opportunities help inspire students to establish a lifelong commitment to faith, service, social justice, and solidarity in the global community.
Many students returned to campus transformed. “Looking back on all of the progress we made at the end of the week and how close we became as a group, I realized that taking a risk to put yourself out there can truly change an aspect of the world,” said Tom Mandozzi ‘18, who participated in the Alabama trip.
“SEND Ecuador provided us the opportunity to be in relationship with the Ecuadorian people and reflect on the face of Christ in their joys and struggles,” said Melissa Tamayo Vargas ’18. “It challenged us to change our perspective and to be genuine.”
During spring break 2017, students will travel to Baltimore, MD, Washington, D.C.; Immokalee, FL; Norristown, PA; Trenton, NJ; and Georgetown, DE. For more information about Campus Ministry, visit http://www.assumption.edu/campus-life/campus-ministry.
Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College