WBA 2017 Back At The Hilltop Updates

It is hard to believe that the week has wrapped up and the groups are on their way back to the hilltop. We await the stories and memories to be shared! Below you will find the status of each trip and expected arrival time that will be updated as the trips arrived back.

Appalachia: Appalachia left Salem, WV at approximately 10:0am this morning and are currently en-route. They will be arriving campus late this evening!

Baltimore: Has arrived safely home at approximately 3:30pm after an uneventful drive!

Baton Rouge: Baton Rouge will be traveling with the New Orleans group home. They are at their gate for their flight to Nashville at 4:35pm (central time) and expected in Boston at 9:20pm.

D.C.- Left the Nation's capital at 5:00am and arrived back to campus at around 2:15pm. They are napping before the welcome back party tonight!

Dominican Republic: Has safely arrived at JFK. The flight has been delayed to depart at 5:30 and is expected to arrive in Boston at 6:46pm! We are excited to welcome them back to NH and the cold weather!

Habitat VA: Left Abingdon, VA at 6:00am this morning and are expecting to arrive on campus around 10:00pm.

Manchester: Manchester arrived safely back to campus at about 1:00pm and are also resting up for the party later this evening.

New Orleans: Will be traveling with the Baton Rouge group home. They are at their gate for their flight to Nashville at 4:35pm (central time) and expected in Boston at 9:20pm.

Phoenix: Phoenix is awaiting their flight to Atlanta and then will arrive at 9:45 in Boston with the New Orleans and Baton Rouge groups.

Mid-Week Updates: Part 2

As the night progressed and the morning came, the remaining trips called to update us on their progress and accomplishments. With just today and tomorrow left in the work week, trips are getting ready to transition home but not before they accomplish what they set out to do.

Appalachia: Leaders Zach Sirowich '18 and Teresa Samson '17 used a land line (yes, they still have those!) to check-in this morning. With limited service and no access to cell phones or watches during the day at Nazareth Farm, the group has been immersed in the work and the site values of community, simplicity, prayer, and service. Morgan Brady '18 says at first she was skeptical of the restrictions at the site, but has now embraced the values of simplicity and community much more than she ever thought. Focusing on the richness of these values has allowed her to examine her own life and appreciate it on a deeper level.

The group has participated in various projects from grounds-work, hanging drywall, painting, and building a porch for a residence in Salem, WV. The leaders and participants are eager to take not only their new skills home, but their newfound perspectives and outlooks.

Baltimore: Leaders Marissa Perschini '17 and Georgie Rooney '18 relayed how their exposure to hunger and homelessness in the greater Baltimore area has opened their groups hearts and minds more than they could have imagined. Throughout the week, the group has assisted at various soup kitchens and nursing home in the local area through Catholic Charities of Baltimore.

On Monday, the group served 671 meals in 2 hours at Our Daily Bread! That evening, the group served meals, restaurant style to the guests of My Sister's Place, a women's center. The group also visited the elderly and assisted with Bingo operations from reading numbers, moving the markers, and having fun! The group continued to minister to the homeless at the Housing Resource Center where they served over 350 meals in four hours. As the week comes to a close, the group is reflecting on how to bring the lessons and realities they have learned back to the Hilltop.

D.C.: Jenna Baker '18 and Meghan Golden '18 discussed how impressed they and their group was with the organization and efficiency of Food and Friends, delivering meals to the home bound. Each morning the group works together to organize and then package the meals that are to be delivered.

Once packaged, the meals are loaded into the vans. The group then travels to different residences throughout D.C. and Maryland and delivers the meals. The group has reflected on the themes of hospitality and dignity and how these two ideals are easily to take for granted.

New Orleans: Continuing to be immersed in the vast culture New Orleans, Cullen Clougherty '19 and Maggie Walker '17 recounted their tour of Lower 9th Ward and the bayou. Being exposed to the culture and richness of the area has allowed the group to have a great appreciation of their surroundings.

The group continues their work with SBP (St. Bernard Project) using power tools (safely!) for their projects. The group has obtained a vast amount of knowledge and skills already!

Mid-Week Updates: Part 1

It is hard to believe that the WBA 2017 trips are already halfway through their week of service! It seems as though the trips were just leaving the hilltop for their destinations. As their week and work continue, the details, stories, and pictures of their week will be trickling in. Here are the groups that have reported today:

WBA Baton RougeBaton Rouge: Joseph Smith '17 and Maggie Lynch '17 reflected on the numerous tasks their two groups were assigned to accomplish. Joe led the team with the Fuller Center for Housing to hang drywall, paint, and work on trim of a house that is being refurbished for the family to return.

Maggie led a group with All Hands, an organization based out of Massachusetts. The group hung drywall and installed insulation in order for the house to be livable once again. Lauren Case '19, a WBA Baton Rouge participant stated "that although she was saddened and shocked by the severity of the damage the flood had caused, she was excited to the have the opportunity to contribute to the relief effort."

WBA Baton RougeDominican Republic: Carroll Bailey '17 and Franki Mullen '17 called with not only a weather update (80s and sunny!) but to report on the week so far. This morning they took a tour of a batey, which includes sugar cane fields, a factory, and small village.

The group was split into two work groups working on two small houses in the village working with cementing and raising the structures. In the afternoon, the group spends time until dinner working with the children of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH). They expressed joy and excitement that the group is able to get a wide variety of experiences each day.

Habitat VA: Habitat for Humanity of Washington County has truly embraced our volunteers. Danielle Phinney '18 and Zach Traver '17 recounted the various jobs that the two groups have accomplished. The group is becoming well versed in a variety of skills such as drywall installation, nail removal, framing, garbage pick up and demolition.

The group was invited to a youth gathering this evening at the Highland Church that they were looking forward to. Because of the weather getting warmer, the group will come together for the remainder of the week and continue to remodel a trailer home with a coat of new paint, installation of indoor necessities, as well as the completion of a porch.

Hartford: Jackie Parece '17 and Katie Duane '17 called to report on WBA Hartford. Staying at the Catholic Worker House of Hartford, the group has been assisting the community with outreach efforts to the local school aged children in the area. They have participated in neighborhood clean-up efforts and assisted in shoveling snow to ensure that children have a safe path to school.

During the school day, WBA Hartford has assisted with hunger relief programs such as Foodshare, contributing to the packaging 4,133 pounds of produce. They have visited the House of Bread, sharing lunch with the guests.

image4Manchester: Danielle O'Neil '17 and Noelle Menard '17 called early this morning to report on the powerful experience they are having working with the International Institute of New England. WBA Manchester has been assisting with the welcoming of immigrants and refugees.

Our group has welcomed a group of refugees at the airport, sharing joy and hospitality. They have assisted the refugees in finding jobs and looking for apartments. They have also assisted children at local elementary schools, helping them acclimate and become accustomed to their new environments.

WBA Manchester has also spent their afternoons assisting with homework help at the Elmwood Gardens community. Having the International Institute in Manchester allows the participants to become more globally aware. The group continued to reach new heights rock climbing on their day off!

IMG_2010Phoenix: Working at the André House, a house of hospitality, Jasmine Blais '17 and Cassidy Diaz '19 have ensured us that the group is truly living out the Benedictine value of hospitality. At the Andre House, the participants are assigned different duties that allows the center to function at high speed.

Participants may be waiting for donations and interacting with the guests, the could be assigned to help keep track of the showers, or they could be helping guests find the items they need in the office or the donation closet. Whatever job assigned, the participants are fully embracing the mission of the Andre House.

Check back for more updates Thursday as calls come in!

A Glimpse Into the Work Week

Just two days into the work week, Winter Break Alternative 2017 is in full swing with service work happening at all of our sites! Pictures and stories are still coming in from many of our groups. We are eager to get more and more updates from the groups as the week goes on, especially from the groups who are farther away!

Appalachia (Salem, WV): Reported this morning with a brief check in to say that wood splitting and wood work have been keeping the group busy. Looking forward to pictures to come!

Baltimore: On Monday, WBA Baltimore Group served 671 meals in just 2 hours at Our Daily Bread!
Baltimore Our Daily BreadDC: WBA DC served those who are homebound throughout the city with Food and Friends. They are seen wearing their hairnets with pride!

WBA DC hair netsHabitat VA: WBA Habitat VA has been keeping busy with demolition of porches and old structures. There also seems to be some dumpster diving taking place!
habitat-demoNOLA: WBA New Orleans has been "sheet-rocking and rolling" and framing in the beautiful sunny, warm weather.

Mid-week updates will be coming in from the groups between Wednesday and Thursday, so stay tuned!

WBA 2017 Weekend Wanderings

With some of the WBA trips at their destinations, trips were able to explore the area and acclimate before their official workweek began! An important objective of the Service and Solidarity Program is to expose the participants to new cultural experiences and environments. Be it the food they eat, the music they hear, the art they see or the historical nature of their location, the goal is to take advantage of all that is around them.

Baltimore and DC: After taking some time to rest after the long commute Friday night into early Saturday morning, WBA Baltimore WBA DC attended mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and were warmly welcomed! They then braved the cold weather and view the monuments in our nation's capital!

WBA DC and WBA Baltimore at the White HouseNew Orleans and Baton Rouge: WBA NOLA was joined in the French Quarter by WBA Baton Rouge for the day. The leaders were able to grab a lovely cup of joe and pastries as their groups took their time enjoying the sunshine and all the area had to offer.

baton-nola-leadersHartford: WBA Hartford did not let the snow and frigid temperatures stop them from having fun! After assisting their community in shoveling, they visited the local outdoor skating rink, carousel, and posed in front of the capital building.

hartfordAppalachia and Habitat: Finally arrived at their work sites and had a few hours of sleep before awaking Monday morning to begin their work week!

Look back for more updates in the middle of the week!

Remembering Sr. Anne Byrne

It is with great sadness that I share with you the loss of one of our community partners and a long time friend of the Saint Anselm College Service & Solidarity Missions program. Sr. Anne Byrne, a sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart, and host at the Duchesne House For Volunteers in New Orleans, passed away suddenly this morning.

Sr. Anne Byrne, RSCJ

Sr. Anne Byrne, RSCJ with Courtney Puccio '17 during WBA 2016

Sister Anne has hosted countless numbers of high school and college students for many years at Duchesne House. We at Saint Anselm have been working with her for seven or eight years now. Not only were our students housed at Duchesne House but on the weekends and in the evenings Sr. Anne would plan programs and events throughout the city so that our groups were familiar with the wonderful gifts and needs of this unique city and its residents.

Sr. Anne was incredibly passionate about her work, her enthusiasm and generosity toward our students is something we on the Hilltop treasure. Knowing that she was in the midst of this important work, helping to orient our WBA NOLA group, brings us some peace amid our sadness.

Our WBA NOLA group led by Maggie Walker and Cullen Clougherty, has taken time today to pray and reflect about this loss and are doing well. They will dedicate this week of service in honor of Sr. Anne, hoping to immerse themselves in the work she was so passionate about.

Please keep Sr. Anne and her community in your prayers, as well as our WBA NOLA group and those they will serve in her honor. We will share information about services so that alumni might reach out to her community.

In Peace,

Susan Gabert
Director of Campus Ministry

A Generous Gesture in the Air

We departed campus and made our way to Boston, where we began our day of flying. We were all anxious to get on our way, but the weather caused a delay. When we arrived in Atlanta we were lucky to make our connection to Phoenix, where we will spend the next week at the Andre House.

WBA Phoenix

WBA Phoenix at the airport, en-route to the Andre House to begin their week of Service & Solidarity

Boarding our flight to Phoenix, we were all truly impressed by the way the crew reacted to meeting us. One of our participants, Ashley Robichaud began talking to a flight attendant about our trip and told her about our upcoming week of service and solidarity at the Andre House.

The flight attendant had never heard of the Andre House before, but spent a few minutes on their website learning more about the organization. She came back to where we were sitting and told Ashley that she grew up in the Bronx in a poor neighborhood where there were many homeless people. She asked how we felt about the people we'd be serving and the work we'd be doing.

She had no idea that services of that kind were available in Phoenix, and that she knew some people who could benefit from all the Andre House has to offer. She was impressed that our Service & Solidarity trips are student-led, and by the impact the program has not only on the people the participants serve, but on the participants themselves.

We chatted further with other flight attendants about the Andre House's services: providing meals, clothes, laundry services, and more. The crew decided to give us a bag full of peanuts and pretzels to bring with us to the Andre House. This generous gesture revealed to all of us the value of simple acts of kindness.

-Beth Gabert '17

WBA 2017: Travel Day, Part 2

Despite significant winter weather down the east coast today, most groups have had a relatively hassle-free travel day. With the exception of Appalachia and Habitat — who will depart at 6 a.m. Sunday — all other groups are en-route or have arrived at their host sites as of 5 p.m.

WBA Baton Rouge at the airport10 p.m. Update

All trips that departed from campus today have safely arrived at their host sites. Appalachia and Habitat will depart campus early Sunday morning. Check in later Sunday for an update as groups settle in, and begin their week of Service & Solidarity. Thank you for your continued prayers and good wishes for a wonderful week ahead.


Groups En-Route

Dominican Republic: Passing through customs now, and adjusting to the change in weather! The group will soon travel to the children's home Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos where they will spend their week.

Phoenix: After a quick, but easy connection in Atlanta, the group is now in the air to Phoenix. They are scheduled to arrive after 7 o'clock local time in Arizona (9 o'clock eastern).

Baton Rouge: On the ground in St. Louis, awaiting their connecting flight to New Orleans, with a scheduled arrival of approximately 6 o'clock local time (7 o'clock eastern).

New Orleans: Following a missed connection in Atlanta, the group has been booked on Southwest flight 726. This flight is currently delayed, but is scheduled to arrive in New Orleans around 8 o'clock local time (9 o'clock eastern).

Safe Arrivals

Baltimore, D.C., Hartford and Manchester are all safely at their host sites, and are settling in.

WBA 2017: Travel Day, Part 1

Winter Break Alternative 2017 is underway with several trips en-route, while others delay their travels out of concern for today's winter storm. Campus Ministry staff and trip student-leaders are making decisions regarding travel with the safety of each group as the top priority. Please check in throughout the day for updates as groups continue their travel.

Mid-Day Update (12:30 p.m. / 1:30 p.m.)

Hartford has arrived at their host-site, while Manchester will soon trek across the river to their week of service and solidarity. Our Phoenix group has boarded their first flight to Atlanta, with a connection this afternoon to Arizona.

New Orleans and Baton Rouge have departed from Boston, with a connection in St. Louis around 3:30 p.m. local time to their final destination in Louisiana. We will continue to share updates as they are available!

Appalachia and Habitat, Virginia will depart campus at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Following last night's send-off Mass, our Baltimore and D.C. groups hit the road for an overnight drive to their host sites. They have safely arrived, in advance of today's storm.

Dominican Republic

With a 1:30 a.m. departure from campus, the D.R. crew arrived at the airport very early this morning for their first flight to JFK in New York.

Hartford, Connecticut

In anticipation of today's weather, Hartford departed campus at 8 o'clock this morning. They will make the drive to Connecticut in advance of today's snow.

Phoenix, Arizona and New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana

All three of these flying trips departed campus around 8:30 this morning for the airport, in advance of flights later today. We will monitor their connections throughout the day.

Manchester, New Hampshire

With the shortest travel day, our Manchester group will depart campus around noon to begin their week in the Queen City.

Appalachia and Habitat, Virginia

Due to the weather, our driving trips to Virginia and West Virginia will not leave campus today. We anticipate they will depart on Sunday.

Baltimore, D.C. Depart Early!

It is said that "preparation is the key to success". With this is mind, the WBA Baltimore and WBA D.C. trips have hit the road  around 9:00pm in order to arrive before Winter Storm Helena does! We expect them to  arrive at their housing sites in the wee hours of the morning. Please check back for updates in regards to other remaining flights and their travel times.