Red Rock Reflections: ASB Phoenix 2016 Final Thoughts

Over spring break, a group of twenty-four EC students and faculty members made the trek out to Phoenix, Arizona for a week of serving the homeless community. We had the honor to be part of this group and undergo the irreplaceable experiences. Some of us worked with Andre House for the week, while the rest of us worked with The Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Participants got to gain experience doing a variety of tasks within their assigned organization. We were able to do things such as help prepare and serve meals, give a family a home makeover, help in St. Vincent’s garden as well as their thrift store, take over their “Dream Center” which acts as a sort of after school center, and so much more.

We could go on forever about this great week, but the best way to learn about ASB Phoenix is to hear about it from everyone who went on the trip! Read on to hear everyone’s final thoughts on ECASBPHX16:

“This ASB has been life changing in so many different ways. I won't forget who these people are, these absolutely incredibly people, and there is no other group I would rather have my first ASB student leader experience with. I'm so glad I can call these people my friends, and what we did this week was nothing short of amazing. From serving people for five straight days, to climbing 700ft up Bell Rock, to becoming so close in such a short amount of time. There's no one else I would've wanted to spent this week with, and no other place I would've wanted to be. So if you're thinking of joining ASB, do it.” -Peter Donato ‘17

“We left as strangers, but came back as family.” - Savannah Cardoso ‘18

“It’s been a really positive experience, and I’m very glad to have served with and met everyone that’s here. I formed all these new friendships!” - Melissa Chobot ‘17

“Alternative Spring Break is a program that is so near and dear to my heart. I think that a personal theme for me on this trip was the importance of human dignity. Going on this ASB Phoenix trip reminded me that greater than any of the hate, inequality or injustice in the world, is the power of human dignity and compassion for others.” - Ashly Uss ‘17

“I got to meet a lot of people I normally wouldn’t have met, and make friendships with them, which I appreciate.” - Lucy Dinaro ‘19

“I met a lot of great people, and it was very life-changing. I got to put a face to the statistics of homelessness.” - Courtney Copp ‘18

“You just get to see a whole side of homelessness that people don’t necessarily understand from the news. There’s more to it than just drug addicts and alcoholics on the street, or mentally ill people on the street; it’s college educated people who just fell through the cracks and are now on the streets. There’s more than people understand.” - Alexa Luppino ‘18

“I have seen more beauty helping the hungry and homeless in Phoenix than I have ever seen in any vacation destination, and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful group of people to experience it with.” - Quincie Varin ‘16

“ASB is an incredible opportunity.  It allows students to work directly with some of the biggest non-profit organizations in Phoenix and to get to know the guests we are helping.  Being able to sit down and have a conversation with a guest is unlike any other experience.  After serving in Phoenix for a week, I have learned many lessons and skills that I will be able to bring back and continue using in Boston. I personally cannot think of any better way to spend Spring Break!” - Meaghan Carey ‘18

“We need to treat people in a way the world has not.” - Vicky Aradillos ‘18

“I was really nervous coming on this trip because I didn’t know a lot of people and I didn’t know if I would rather spend my first spring break at home, but I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made!” - Katie Drewry ‘19

“The day of our flight to Phoenix, I was talking to my friend and I thought, I don’t know why I’m doing this because I don't know anybody and I’m so scared. I didn’t know if it was the right decision for me. But I applied, and I got in, and now I’m so happy that I came because it’s really been one of the best weeks of my life.” - Colleen Dauwer ‘18

“This trip has done so much for me, because not only has it pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it also made me realize the potential that I have and the abilities that I possess. I’ve had such a positive experience!” - Lydia Zepeda ‘17

“I am very honored to not only go on ASB Phoenix for my second year, but to have also been chosen to be a student leader. I was able to further see the systematic issues at hand seeing guests at Andre House that I saw last year still needing the same assistance. I have also been able to continue the growth of my interest in social justice and the "two feet of service", advocacy and direct service, through this amazing opportunity. I also enjoyed the experience of working with other students on campus. It's heartwarming to see the enthusiasm and passion EC students have for service and the work that they do.” -Tina Ascolillo ‘17

“ASB Phoenix was an amazing experience where I got to meet so many new and different people!” - Jeremy Morrissette ‘18

“I was nervous about coming on ASB, since I’d never done a mission trip like this before so I didn’t know what to expect, and working with the homeless community seemed daunting. But the experience I had was unlike any other I’ve ever had in the best possible way. It was overwhelming at times, but it was also amazing to talk to them and hear their stories. You never know how much you can impact someone just by listening to them and sending a smile their way. It also helped that I got to experience this trip and the beauty of Arizona with some of the funniest, kindest, most dedicated people I’ve ever known. I’m so grateful to have had this experience.” - Liz Racine ‘17

“ASB exceeded all of my expectations , it was a really fulfilling experience and it was the perfect opportunity to develop new friendships with other EC students, all while serving the community.” - Sophie Fish ‘17

“Having an opportunity to meet people who are homeless in Phoenix reminded me of what  a dangerous thing stigma is, and the false illusions it produces. These people are stripped of their dignity by losing their identities to homelessness and it’s simply not fair. There is no reason they deserve to be in that position any more than I do. It is purely heartbreaking, but there is no other way I would have rather spent my spring break.” - Elisabeth Staal ‘16

“ASB Phoenix was an unbelievable experience for me. This was my first non-local mission trip and a trip that I will never forget. Witnessing how grateful these people were towards us serving for their community made me feel like I was apart of something greater than myself for the first time. Also, being able to travel to different Phoenix landmarks was a highlight of the trip and a relaxing finish to our long week of service. The friendships I made and the experiences I had while in Phoenix will stay with me forever.” - Tyler Billick ‘18

“Taking part in ASB is probably one of the best choices a student can make. You get to travel while in college, meet new people, and help others. Going to Phoenix showed me that we can make people's lives a bit easier only for the moment, and that's why we make it count by giving it our all. I am hoping to return on an ASB trip in the future and give more of what I can.” -Laura Correo-Franco ‘19

“I also want to publicly thank the staff leaders for their assistance and dedication. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to take time off from family, work, and their lives to come with a group of students on a service trip and we could not have done it without them. Shameless plug... If you have not applied for ASB or participated before, do it before you graduate." - Tina Ascolillo ‘17

Speaking of staff leaders, we couldn’t leave them out! Without them, ASB trips wouldn’t be possible. The staff leaders participated in service alongside students, as well as facilitated the experience. We don’t know what we would’ve done without their support.

“Phoenix ASB 2016 is a group of kind and caring individuals committed to advocating for social justice through service to others - it was an honor to service and reflect with this group.” - Deirdre Bradley-Turner, Director of Community Service and Service Learning

“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to Phoenix for ASB. After attending ASB in Phoenix in 2011 as a student, it was wonderful to return to the service sites and work with such a great organization. I really enjoyed getting to know the students on the trip and think that it was a very rewarding experience for all involved.” - Jill Meleedy, Assistant Director of International Programs and Study Abroad

“ASB Phoenix was a unique experience like none other I have ever had while working or attending an institution. Observing our students throwing themselves into the service of others who struggle to just make it the next day was so admirable. I know I left with a deeper passion for helping to discover solutions to assist in reducing homelessness, and I hope others left with that feeling also.” - Ian Sonia, Assistant Director of Admissions

If you know someone who went on an ASB trip, we encourage you to ask them more about it. The memories and lessons that came out of this week are unlike any other experience. In connection, we also encourage you to be on the lookout for ASB applications in the fall and to apply! Take advantage of this opportunity, you won't regret it.

Also, check out our music video from the trip!