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Inside View

Alternative Spring Break
  UDM students, UDM staff members and the owner
  of an urban farm the students helped develop during
  their Alternative Spring Break trip this spring in Detroit.

Students put faith into action by working and helping others

This year marks the 22nd year of UDM service trips sponsored by University Ministry. UDM students started putting their faith into action through service trips in 1989. Participation in Alternative Spring Break (ASB) gives individuals a chance for direct service, combined with reflection on how ASB can make a difference in the lives of others, along with their own lives. ASB participants exemplify the Jesuit education goal, being “men and women for others” and the Mercy tradition of “compassionate service to those in need.” Since then, the breadth of service trips available to students has grown to include nine different sites of service—one ASB trip to New Orleans, seven Alternative Spring Break trips throughout the U.S., and one International Service Experience trip to Mandeville, Jamaica.

University Ministry’s service trips have grown to offer opportunities for faculty and staff to get involved as well. This year’s Alternative Winter Break took place from Jan. 1-8, 2011. Ten students and four colleagues took part in the trip and served in areas of New Orleans that still remain devastated by the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

During the week of March 5-12, 55 members of the UDM community traveled to seven locations around the country to help the less fortunate, including Detroit, where two faculty members and four students explored many of the city’s most difficult issues including hunger, homelessness and social justice. Within one week, Detroit ASB participants worked with and visited 12 different agencies in need.

Volunteers worked at the SHAR House (Self Health Addiction Rehabilitation), Detroit Evolution, Gleaners Food Bank, Manna Meals, a Detroit-area soup kitchen, Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries. A group of Loyola University Chicago students also joined the UDM students and staff at several of the agencies.

Other locations that the UDM ASB participants helped out in included: Salem, W.Va., Mt. Pleasant, S.C., El Paso, Texas, Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., and Chicago, Il.