Students Leave for Service Trips Over Spring Break
March 13, 2009
In traditional Saint Leo spirit, volunteer groups comprised of students and employees packed up their work boots and traveling gear starting March 12 for seven different destinations, all with a common goal.
The travelers are going to volunteer their free time and labor to communities in need. Instead of sleeping in or heading to the beach for the week of March 16, this year’s SERVE (Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteer Experience) program participants are headed to Atlanta, New Orleans, the Florida Keys, New Jersey, Alaska, Ecuador and Honduras.
Each group has its own mission. The Florida Keys project does environmental restoration. In New Orleans, the group will report to a local Habitat for Humanity project to help continue home rebuilding efforts still ongoing since Hurricane Katrina. In Atlanta, New Jersey and Alaska, the volunteers will join forces with Catholic organizations that are guiding community projects.
The Honduras group will also work on housing efforts, and in Ecuador students will volunteer on a technology project at a school.
The students, along with help from Saint Leo University and student government, pay their own way on the trips. They also track their efforts, successes and challenges, so they can continue to improve the program each year. The trips are now so popular that students have to compete for places.
About 75 students are participating in the current trips. An additional trip has been scheduled for Brazil in May, after the semester and final exams are over. About 10 students are ready to help on a farming project. With travel time, the Brazil trip will take 11 days, so organizers couldn’t fit the project into the Spring Break schedule.
Saint Leo’s classes at the main campus resume March 23.