Alternative Break Service Experiences
If you’re looking to make a difference in the lives of others, The Mercy Center hosts Alternative Break missions that bring GMercyU students, faculty, and staff together for service projects around the country and the world.
You’ll 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 Break Service Experiences, GMercyU-Style
Students, faculty, and staff who've participated in these experiences, which take place during school breaks, have nothing but positive feedback to share. Interested in participating? ASB participants have a desire to:
- Be of service to others
- Learn more about economic poverty, diversity, social justice, and the environment
- Live simply
- Grow in your spirituality
- Reflect on your experiences, individually and as a community
- Strengthen your leadership qualities and commitment to the future
Alternative Break 2023 Trips
Alternative Spring Break: Baltimore, MD (March 5-10, 2023)
Urban Poverty, Advocacy (U.S.)
This site team will primarily focus on issues of urban poverty with an introduction to advocacy skills. Previous community partners we hope to work with again include: Marian House (transitional housing for formerly incarcerated or homeless women), Stella Maris, (hospice and retirement center), the Franciscan Center (social service organization), and Catholic Charities (social service organization). The team will learn about the pervasive challenges of poverty and homelessness in Baltimore which disproportionately impacts persons of color, and collaborative initiatives underway to alleviate the problem. The team also plans to take a day trip to Washington, DC to meet with justice advocacy groups such as Catholic Relief Services, NETWORK, and Jesuit Relief Services. The site team will connect with the local Mercy community by serving in Mercy-sponsored sites, and meeting socially with Sisters, Mercy Volunteers, and Mercy Associates.
Alternative Summer Break: Benson, Vermont (May 14-19, 2023)
Care of the Earth, Spirituality, Advocacy
This team will be living, learning and serving Mercy Eco-Spirituality Center. This is a working farm and retreat center whose mission is to inspire reverence for Earth and to work towards sustainability of life by acting in harmony with all creation. Mercy Farm focuses on connecting people with nature and healing the Earth through community outreach, farming, gardening and more. While on the Farm, team members will observe the natural world surrounding them, ponder their own spirituality, learn about human’s connection to and impact on the earth, and consider how they may be better advocates for the world. Service to Mercy Farm will include cleaning, planting, tending the animals, and assisting with seasonal projects. Students might also serve a local partner organization, according to the need. As the week concludes, the site team will consider how they can continue to advocate for the Earth at GMercyU and/or their home communities.
Alternative Summer Break: New York City, NY (May 14-19, 2023)
Urban Poverty, Advocacy (International)
Students and leaders will be hosted by the NYC Mercy Volunteer community in Queens, NY. The team will primarily focus on issues of urban poverty. Tentative sites include the Mercy Center (new immigrant support and advocacy), St. John’s Ministry (social service organization), and Covenant House (emergency shelter for youth and young adults). The group may join several east coast Mercy Volunteer communities on a tour of the UN where they will learn about international advocacy efforts of the Sisters of Mercy. NYC Mercy Volunteers will lead the team in at least one night of post-service reflection. Public transportation will be utilized throughout the week.
The application deadline is Tuesday, January 24, 2023. See details here.
Did you know? Our students raise all the money for their Alternative Breaks. If you'd like to help, you can make a donation here. Thanks for your support!