Alternative Break Mission Experiences

Alternative Break Service - GMercyU Style


If you’re looking to make a difference in the lives of others, we offer several extended service experiences. Our Alternative Break Missions provide a unique opportunity to join with other GMercyU students, faculty and staff members in service projects around the country and around the world.

Whether you’re looking to stay in the U.S. or travel abroad, you’re sure to find an opportunity to perform worthwhile community service, while learning about cultural and social issues facing your host community. It's an experience you'll never forget, and one that you'll want to repeat again and again throughout your time here. 

Campus Ministry Alternative Break Service Experiences

Nursing Mission Trips

Campus Ministry Alternative Break Service Experiences

As part of our Alternative Break service program, the GMercyU Campus Ministry team offers service-immersion experiences during school breaks as part of a deep and lasting commitment to service. Students, faculty, and staff who participate in these experiences have nothing but positive feedback to offer.

ASB participants have a desire to:

  • Be of service to others
  • Learn more about economic poverty, diversity and social justice
  • Live simply
  • Grow in your spirituality
  • Reflect on your experiences, individually and as a community
  • Strengthen your leadership qualities and commitment to the future

This year's sites include: Baltimore, MD; Cincinnati, OH, and Laredo, TX (February 29 - March 7) as well as an experience in Benson, VT (May 17-22).

Interested?  Please fill out this online application OR download an application (PDF) for more information.  Note that applications are due January 15, 2020

Our students raise all the money for their Alternative Breaks.  Care to help?  Here are three ways:

  1. Visit our online giving page, scroll down to "Alternative Spring Break with Campus Ministry," and make a contribution.  It's that easy!
     
  2. Come to Applebee's in North Wales for our Flapjack Fundraiser, a Short Stack for a Tall Cause, on Saturday, February 1 between 8-10 a.m.
     
  3. Play BINGO in the University Gym on the evening of Friday, March 29.  Doors open at 6, play begins at 7.  Admission is $10 (Students 2/$5).  
    We always need BINGO prizes and raffle baskets as well as Finer Things prizes. Contact Betsy Stone Plummer, plummer.b@gmercyu.edu or 215-641-5592 to make a contribution.

A Look Back:  ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK 2019

Through Campus Ministry, Alternative Spring Break students traveled to three different locations for a week of service and simple living.

LAREDO, TEXAS

Re-cap coming soon!

CINCINNATI, OHIO

In Cincinnati our students lived in Regina Hall, a Mercy convent with five wonderful sisters who invited them to be at home in their home for the week.  They loved getting to know their host sisters and sharing family meals with them.  From there they served in a variety of Mercy-sponsored ministries, witnessing the goodness of so many staff and committed volunteers who spend their days in the service of some of Cincinnati’s most vulnerable citizens.  Sites included:

  • St. Boniface School, where all but twelve of the 180 students live below the poverty line
  • Bethany House, where women and children seeking emergency shelter can find a bed, a home-cooked meal, and a variety of support services 
  • Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, where elderly neighbors living alone on razor-thin fixed incomes find friendship, dignity, and celebration. 
  • Visits to the Freedom Center (Cincinnati’s Underground Railroad Museum) and to McAuley Convent (for prayer and supper with retired sisters) rounded out the students’ experiences of service, justice, and Mercy hospitality.  

 

BENSON, VERMONT

Team Benson spent the week with three sisters of Mercy at Mercy Farm.  Sisters Mary, Betty, and Holly modeled selflessness and servant leadership in beautiful ways each and every day!  We began each day by learning about the importance of tending our earth's resources through a video series called “Awakening the Dreamer.”  We discussed ways in which individuals and communities can positively impact the earth, preserving it for future generations. In the afternoons we visited local farms to offer assistance in a variety of ways.

  • We helped one farmer harvest crops for the market, and till and weed his planting beds in a large greenhouse that was roughly the size of a field!
  • We visited and toured Green Mountain University, learning about the amazing ways that they have gone completely carbon free in order to do their part and minimize their impact on the planet. 
  • At Mercy Farm, we helped to chop wood by hand, drive the 'Gator' and clear brush to prepare for spring planting, build a fence in the barn, and de-burr the barn cat (affectionately named “Barn Cat”). 
  • We also scraped honey frames to prepare the beehives for their May delivery of honey bees that will provide honey and wax for the community. 

    This was a wonderful experience, which gave our students a very real perspective and experience of the difference between urban and rural poverty; the needs may be different, but the goal of service does not change.  It was an incredible way to learn more about one of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: care for and relationship with all of God’s creation.

International Nursing ASB Mission Trip

Juniors and seniors in the BSN program have the opportunity to attend the International Nursing Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic during spring break. Together, faculty and students provide care to Haitians working in the sugar cane fields, most of whom have limited access to medical care. This annual mission trip began in 2006 with two students and grew to 28 students in 2015. In 2016, an alumni group of 8-10 graduates worked alongside our faculty and current students, further expanding the opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of others. While on this Mission Trip, students take various leadership and community courses in conjunction with preparing for the trip, in addition to collecting donated items for the people they help. Students fundraise to support the trip. More information will be provided to you in your nursing classes.  

Since 2013, Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing & Health Professions graduate students have spent their spring break providing aid to people who have limited or no access to medical care at Santisisimo Sacramento Parish in Piura, Peru. Graduate students spend the week in villages doing everything from relieving headaches to repairing a colostomy gone wrong. As graduate students, they have the knowledge and experience to problem solve and do the best they can with the resources they have. 

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