Spring break is a time for fun, sun and relaxation. Students spend long days by the beach, or even stuck at home recouping from the stressful weeks we know as "Midterms." For some Bryant students however, that’s quite the contrary. Bryant University’s spring break community service trips allow students to give back to communities, near and far. Instead of relaxing from the stressful semester, these students worked hard providing a better life for those less fortunate in Haiti, New Orleans, Washington D.C., and even close to home in Providence.
Each student who attended this trip had a personal attachment to Haiti, and for many, this was their first time visiting. This trip was meaningful to all the students who went, as each of them happens to be of Haitian descent. They were able to witness first-hand the damage from recent natural disasters and offer a helping hand.
"This week was a truly amazing and a life-changing experience. I basked in beautiful Haitian culture and met phenomenal individuals. I embarked on the journey to provide service and returned with knowledge, courage, and even bigger dreams." – Wankelley Medina
"It was a great opportunity to see the country of Haiti after the earthquake and give a lending hand to the country by conducting educational workshops that would benefit the youth of Haiti. We facilitated workshops on Self Esteem and STD prevention throughout the week of Spring Break." – Christie Calixte
For more information about the annual Haiti trip, contact Toby Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRIDGES was a community service trip which allowed students to help in the surrounding community. The majority of the service projects were based in Providence. Participating students worked with organizations such as City Arts, Audubon Society, St. Patrick's, Little Sister's of the Poor, and the MS Society. During this experience they developed leadership skills and strove to embody the qualities of a servant leader.
Their mission was, "As members of the BRIDGES team, we will work together to make a purposeful and positive impact by giving back. We strive to personally connect and support those we are serving, as well as one another. Our hope is to take the lessons learned here and apply them to future experiences." Here’s what one of the members has to say about her experience:
"My favorite part of this experience was getting involved with the arts at City Arts in Providence. I have always been interested in things like ceramics, pottery, etc., but having the opportunity to see what young children had done and seeing their faces as we were putting their creations on the benches reminded me how much I loved art and how important it is to building confidence. I will never forget my experiences with the BRIDGES program." - Theodora Jamelle
For more information about the annual BRIDGES trip, contact Rich Hurley at email@example.com.
Katrina Relief Urban Plunge
10 students from Bryant traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to participate in KRUP (Katrina Relief Urban Plunge), a community service spring break trip sponsored by InterVarsity and the Bryant Christian Fellowship. Even six years following Hurricane Katrina, there are areas of New Orleans that still suffer. While certain areas of the city, such as the French Quarter, have been revitalized and portray the festive jazz, melting pot culture New Orleans is known for, other communities are still working to rebuild homes and lives.
The students worked in the New Orleans East neighborhood on different projects, including building the framing for a new house and putting siding up on a home. A key component of the trip was exploring how social justice and spirituality intertwine. According to Jazmin Oliveira (Worcester, MA; '12), "This trip not only helps revive a city still struggling from disaster, but it revives our need to help others."
Alternative Spring Break
The Alternative Spring Break trip to Washington D.C is very unique. Rather than focusing on any one organization or project in the way a Habitat for Humanity trip would, this experience allows participants to be active in a number of different projects. In the morning, students traveled to Food and Friends- an organization that prepares specialized meals to residents in the D.C. area who are low income and face any number of health challenges. In the afternoon, the group stopped by the local Little Sisters of the Poor to interact with residents. The home serves as a residence for the elderly poor. Finally, the group concluded each day with a stop by St. Anthony Catholic School to assist with the after-school program. Some participants helped students with homework and others played games with the kids outside.
“Great Experience! I would recommend it to anyone who's considering spending their spring break giving back. Alternative Spring Break allows you to learn about yourself and others, create new friendships, visit the nation’s capital, and most importantly, give back to others!”– Melanie DeBarros '14
“Alternative Spring Break was an once-in-a-lifetime experience. It made me realize and appreciate how privileged I am as a Bryant student, and see that even the little things I do can make an impact. Typically service is related with a lot of work, but the service we did was a lot of fun and I got to hear about so many people's different life stories. I also had the opportunity to connect with other Bryant students I would otherwise not have met, and each one made an impact on me and I'm glad to have met them. As the saying goes, ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.’”– Michael Banville ‘13