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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.
Alternative Spring Break Student Blogs - Get a firsthand look at students' experiences during former Alternative Spring Break Trips around the country and around the world.
As part of our Alternative Spring 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:
This year's sites include: Benson, VT; Cincinnati, OH, and Laredo, TX (March 2-9) as well as an international expierence in Haiti in collaboration with students from other Mercy colleges (May 21-28).
Interested? Please download an application (PDF) for more information. Note that applications are due January 17, 2019!
Through Campus Ministry and the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing, Alternative Spring Break students traveled to five different locations for a week of service and simple living.
SAN CARLOS, ARIZONA
On the San Carlos Apache Reservation, our students worked at Rice Elementary School. Participating in myriad activities, GMercyU students made a difference in the lives of students and others by:
Philadelphia, Pennyslvania (Interfaith ASB)
This year was our first Interfaith ASB experience. Our students lived at St. Margaret House on the grounds of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and participated in a program designed and led by members of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. The highlight was spending a day at St. Joseph’s University with Eboo Patel, the founder of the Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYCI), and meeting Sororng Som, a Buddhist, Syrian refugee who is now Director of Immigrant Affairs at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Sister Terry Saetta, RSM, spent the week with us and explored with us the five Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy. We learned the importance of asking curious questions, guidelines for dialogue and shared meaningful objects from our faith traditions with one another. Other activities included:
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:
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.
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.
Get a firsthand look at what students were doing across the country as they explored new cultures, broadened their perspectives, and made a real difference in the lives of others.
Nursing major Adrienne Kelly joins other GMercyU students, faculty and staff on an Alternative Spring Break Mission Trip to New Orleans, learning about the history and culture of one of America's most exciting cities, and also doing service projects at Mercy Endeavors, a local senior center, and St. Alphonso’s school.
Anastasia Clare spent the week at Mercy Farm, an eco-spiritual center, in Benson, Vermont.
Biology major Rachel Zobel spent her Alternative Spring Break at Rice Elementary School on an Apache Reservation in San Carlos, Arizona, working with teachers and children. Serving others has become such an important part of Rachel's life that she plans to join the Peace Corps after graduating from GMercyU.
Chelsea Gadecki also is spending the week at Rice Elementary School in San Carlos, Arizona. She writes about spending time with Steven Rufe, a 2012 graduate of our Education degree program, who now teaches there full time.