About 30 students and chaperones from Dominican College participated in the Alternative Spring Break Program in early March, volunteering in three different locations across the country. Some of the students worked with Habitat for Humanity to construct and restore homes for people in need in Melfa, VA and Loveland, CO. The students put in long days working on the homes, while they also lived simply, disconnected from technology, and focused on self-reflection.
“I learned a lot about myself from this experience,” said senior Jhanya Squires, who volunteered in Colorado. “I want to be more involved in service opportunities like this and encourage others to be involved. This is my second service trip I have been on this year and the feeling and memories I have gotten from them is like nothing I have felt before.”
A third group of students volunteered at Casa Alitas Catholic Community Services in Tucson, AZ. Kathryn Strobel, Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development, said the goal of this trip was to assist migrant families who legally crossed the border. A grant from the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt helped to fund the trip.
“They wanted us to help at the border,” said Strobel. “Their intention was for us to be at Casa Alitas helping these families, welcoming these families, and interacting with them – just being someone the first time they are in America who is kind and meets them with a smile.”
At Casa Alitas, the students served meals, cleaned, and played with children. They also learned about illegal migrants from the Colibri Center for Human Rights and witnessed federal prosecutions of those accused of illegally crossing the border in the U.S. District Court of Tucson. Strobel said the experience broadened students’ perspectives and inspired them to create positive change.