Spring break starts March 11, and this is usually a time for people to take a break from school and enjoy their free time.
However, the Newman Catholic Center has “alternative” spring break plans that involve helping others.
Doris Nordin, campus minister at the Newman Catholic Center, said Alternative Spring Break has been around for many years now.
“This is the 28th year that we (have done) it, so we have a tradition of using the spring break as a time of service,” Nordin said.
There are 40 Eastern students that are going on this year’s Alternative Spring Break, Nordin said.
The church puts together leaders who are usually Eastern students and train and meet with them to make sure they are prepared to lead everyone, Nordin said.
The Eastern students are going to five different places this spring: Alabama, Mexico, Baltimore, East St. Louis and Kentucky. Each of these trips includes different services that these students will be volunteering in.
She said that in Alabama the students will be working with Big Oak Ranch helping with neglected children that come from broken homes; in Baltimore, they will be helping Catholic Charities; in East St. Louis students, they will be working with the Hubbard House; in Kentucky, they will be doing the Christian Appalachian project, which consists of building homes; and in Mexico, they will work with Hope of the Poor to help children.
Sarah Fors, a sophomore elementary education major, said she is attending Alternative Spring Break and volunteering in Kentucky for the Christian Appalachian project.
“I wanted to do something that would make a difference, and I thought it would be a cool way for me to make a difference in this way as well, (being able to) get stronger in my faith,” Fors said.
Nordin said the students going to Kentucky to work with the Christian Appalachian project have the opportunity to meet the people they are building the houses for and hear their stories.
Esther Simon, a senior elementary education major, is traveling to Mexico to work with Hope of the Poor.
“Why I wanted to specifically go to Mexico and not any other one is because … in the future I want to get my master’s with an ESL (English as a second language) endorsement,” Simon said. “I want to get to know what they go through—those who come here and are ESL students.”
She said that being able to go to Mexico and experience this will help her have a better understanding of how to help people in need and eventually be able to better communicate with them in the near future.
Madison Ley, a senior elementary education major, is also going to Mexico, and this is her second time going on an alternative break, with her first time being back in November.
Ley said the whole point behind going to an Alternative Spring Break is to devote one’s time in ways that help multiple people and getting a meaningful experience out of it.
“This is more than just a regular spring break; we are spending and giving up our own time and energy to serve others,” Nordin said.
Maria Ruettiger can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]