When Megan Miller returns to school on Monday, she’ll no doubt be swapping spring break stories with friends. But Megan’s stories will be much different than those of her fellow classmates at Colorado State University. It has become the norm for thousands of college students from schools across the country to use their week off from class to venture to tropical climates, sandy beaches, and endless bad decisions, but the exception is people like Megan who dedicate their vacation to giving back.
Megan, along with fellow group leader Ian Krammer, and six other students, traveled from Denver, Colorado to DC last Sunday for a week of service in the District. This past Thursday, before the sun had even made an appearance, the group of eight traveled from their temporary housing in south east DC, to join us at Calvary. Typically, our meal volunteers prepare dinners or lunches on the weekend, so a fresh breakfast served by 8 new volunteers was quite a surprise for the
women living at Calvary! Although it was early, and everyone was weary-eyed, the students were able to sit down and enjoy conversation with the women.
After breakfast, the group was able to tour the program, ask questions, and learn more about Calvary and the work we do. During this reflection session, the group was asked to write about their experience that morning at Calvary. One student wrote: “It was wonderful to be part of the morning routine. It was rewarding to feel like we provided a service that was out of the ordinary. Your home is beautiful and it was nice to feel a part of your community.” Another wrote “This shelter is an important staple in the DC homeless community, and is KEY in understanding the full scope of those experiencing trials below the poverty line. The shelters and kitchens seem to be primarily men, so finally accessing the more transient and invisible communities within this DC homeless group is great.”
Alternative Spring Breaks (ASBs) have been around for years, but have seen a growth in popularity in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Mississippi, Louisiana, Chicago, Detroit are popular domestic destinations, while international locales include Honduras and Ghana, among other countries. ASBs are designed to not only provide students with eye-opening and life changing experiences, but also sets of helping hands to communities in need. Trips may address social issues such as homelessness, child abuse, environmental problems, hunger, education, or animal welfare. The benefits of ASBs are endless for both the students and the communities they are helping. Besides the memories of exploring the sights of a new city, the students will return changed, and more aware of the necessity that we all be socially responsible citizens.
The donation of time and compassion do not go unnoticed at Calvary. It is with the help of our dedicated veteran volunteers, and new groups, like those visiting us from Colorado, that Calvary is able to achieve success.
If you are interested in volunteering with Calvary, please visit out website.
For more information on Alternative Spring Breaks, click here.