WBA Trips On Way Back to Campus!

Hi friends, that excitement in the air you sense? It's not the weather, but the sheer enthusiasm of our WBA students heading back to the Hilltop! As of 3:30 p.m. two trips have arrived – Manchester (surprise!) and Nursing – and three more are on the way (Camden, Habitat, and DC.

Two trips – New Orleans and Maine – have their arrivals delayed until tomorrow because of weather. Maine is staying at their site (H.O.M.E., in Orland, ME) tonight and leaving tomorrow morning. New Orleans has had a change of flight.  They will be flying out Sunday, January 12, details below:

  • US1764 – Charlotte to Philadelphia – 7:25 am
  • US3452 – Philadelphia to Manchester – 10:55 am

Stay tuned to our Twitter account @STA_CampusMin for real time updates. Thank you!

Mid-trip Report: So Far, So Great!

Well, as Bon Jovi sang in "Livin' On a Prayer," we're halfway there!  With the WBA week of service halfway over, we wanted to share with you what the students have been up to thus far.   We have been in frequent contact with the trip leaders, and they have kept us up to date with everything that has happened.   According to the leaders, WBA participants have been blessed with an exciting array of experiences: sightseeing tours, community meals, educational presentations, group reflections, one-on-one conversations with poor and marginalized persons, and all manner of service activities.

In short, it has been a very busy and very wonderful week, and we are heartened to see the students making the very most of this opportunity.

Scroll down to view brief reports on the seven WBA trips: Camden, Habitat, Maine, Manchester, New Orleans, Washington DC, and the Nursing Discipline-Centered Trip.  Also, you may follow our Twitter account (@STA_CampusMin) for real time updates and photos.


Camden group after moving lots of rice!


The Camden group of 14 students, led by Emma O'Neil '14 and Jessica Wyrsch '15, has been staying at and working with Romero Center Ministries, an urban retreat and Catholic social justice education center, along with students from Stonehill, Merrimack, and Fordham.  The Romero Center has provided a multifaceted service-learning immersion into the lives of the poor through their Urban Challenge Program.  And every day there has been full of things to see and do, and people to meet!  This week our students stopped by a local homeless shelter to distribute winter coats, serve food and sat with their lunch guests.  They visited a day care to make snowflakes with children and sing songs with adults with disabilities.   They tired themselves out moving countless large, heavy bags of rice.  Finally, and perhaps most powerfully, they organized into "families" and simulated the experience of buying meager meals on a pittance of food stamp money – an experience suffered every day by thousands of poor families.  Taken together, these activities have really awakened our students to the realities of poverty, and they look forward to the rest of the week's activities.


Habitat students showing their woodcraft skills.


A solid group of 15 Anselmians – led by Vivian Fitzgerald '14 and David Oslin '15 – answered the Collegiate Challenge of Habitat for Humanity by trekking south to Vineland, New Jersey to lend a helping hand to the Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity (CCHFH).  While this is a new location for the WBA program, the people at CCHFH must already know the drill, because, like our other WBA sites, they crafted a full schedule of both work and play.  On the one hand, our students worked hard driving around the area picking up donated items for the new Habitat store, installing insulation and windows, and renovating the ceiling.  On the other, they took a quick tour of Atlantic City, sang karaoke (fortunately not within earshot of campus!), and played a little glow in the dark minigolf.  At the end of these "long but good days" (according to Dave Oslin), the students have been able to rest and reflect in the peaceful confines of John Paul II Retreat Center.  While they have relished the opportunity to make a tangible difference building affordable housing and helping to open a new Habitat Re-Store, they have also been blessed with the friendship of Habitat staff, volunteers, the future owners of the home being built, and, of course, each other.


Crafty members of the Maine trip working in H.O.M.E.'s craft store.


It was subzero temperatures on Saturday when the WBA trips left campus, and while most of the trips were headed south to presumably warmer weather, the Maine trip of 17 students – led by Alex Lagoutis '14 and Kellie Hennessey '14 – headed north to colder climes.  Fortunately, they found a warm H.O.M.E. (Homeowners Organized for More Employment) when they arrived.  H.O.M.E., a nonprofit cooperative dedicated to keeping and enhancing the quality of life for low-income and homeless families, has warmly welcomed our students and given them many things to do.  This week the students have already chopped wood, de-iced slippery ground, assisted in daycare, and worked in the craft store.  It has not all been work, though, because they have also enjoyed rollerskating, sundaes, and a pizza party.  Most importantly, they have come to experience true solidarity in the people they met, including James, one of their hosts, who threw them the pizza party – even though by his own admission he did not have much money – because he felt welcomed by them and enjoyed their company.  Putting a face on the excluded and building relationships like this is what our program is all about, and the WBA Mainiacs are really living it this week!


The Manch group enjoying their first meal together – quesadillas!


While the Manchester (Manch) trip had the least distance to go among the seven WBA trips, they are by no means the least of these trips!  Led by Haley Mount '15 and Colin Kiley '16, this group of 11 students first settled in their weeklong digs at Trinity High School, which so generously lent us space for them to stay.  In fact, they have been finding that the good people at Trinity have been leaving them yummy baked goods and treats now and then (thanks Trinity!).  Powered by these treats and by their Anselmian awesomeness, they have been serving this week with the International Institute of New England (IINH) a nonprofit organization working with refugee families settling in Manchester – also a popular service location for hundreds of volunteers from our own Meelia Center for Community Engagement.  Thanks to the coordination and teamwork of the Institute staff, the Manch trip group has gotten to know and work with refugee families in a number of ways – shopping for them at the store, taking them to appointments, and helping train them to run their own childcare business.  They have also been helping around the office at the Institute.  The leaders have expressed amazement at the patience of the refugee families with the complex, often confusing resettlement process.  This promises to be a full week of memorable lessons and experiences – right here in our backyard!


NOLA participants helping Saint Joan of Arc School transition into 2014.

New Orleans

After a daylong ordeal with multiple flight changes and delays, our intrepid New Orleans (NOLA) group of 14 students – led by Ann Lehto '14 and Jaclyn Parolin '15 – reached Duchesne House late Saturday night – but just in time to catch the end of the Saints game with their hosts, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart!  The trip experience began with a day of sightseeing, including a parade celebrating the birthday of St Joan of Arc, pastries in the French Quarter, and a private tour of Saint Louis Cathedral.  The rest of the week they have been assisting in classrooms at Saint Joan of Arc School, a Catholic elementary school. According to the trip leaders, the kids there have been so appreciative and have been lining up by the dozens for hugs!  The NOLA group has also been helping out with the Saint Bernard Project – an organization rebuilding homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina – working in the warehouse organizing donated tools and building materials.  Their trip thus far has indeed been quite an education – both in and beyond the classroom at Saint Joan of Arc!

DC trip cooks ready to "feed the hungry," as the Gospel tells us.

Washington DC

After rising early to catch their flight to Baltimore on Saturday morning, the 14 students on the DC trip – led by Molly White '15 and Shaun O'Halloran '14 – enjoyed the privilege of being the only WBA trip relying solely on public transportation, as they hopped on the DC Metro subway to their housing at Hostelling International.  At the hostel they have been able to make meals together, featuring such delicacies as lasagna and stir fry, and build community with each other.  It is good that they are well-nourished, because their service site, Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP), has kept them busy serving and learning through their Urban Workcamp, which is designed to help student volunteers understand service and homelessness.  This week they have served at a housing facility for elderly and recently homeless, an organization building up community gardens and parks, and a local soup kitchen.  They have cleaned cluttered apartments, organized a disheveled storage area, served meals, and shared hospitality with the homeless.  Thanks to these experiences and the chance to process them through daily reflections with YSOP staff, the DC trip group has gained a deep and varied perspective on the complex injustice of homelessness, and put names and faces to the formerly nameless and faceless.

Nursing DCT members conducting clinic in the kitchen, i.e. prepping the healthy meal they served to teens at their workshops!

Nursing Discipline-Centered Trip

Saint Anselm College is very fortunate to have an excellent nursing program, and nowhere has this been made clearer than through this WBA trip of 10 nursing students – led by Kerrin O'Connor '14 and Heather Kealos '15 – and their two faculty advisors – Professors Antonia Nelson and Destiny Brady.  On Saturday morning they left Gadbois Hall for Philadelphia to see a different side of the health profession through the Wellspring Urban Service Camp, sponsored by the Old First Reformed United Church of Christ.  They have served meals and put on health workshops at an array of area shelters, meeting and working with people of all ages as part of the Cradle 2 Grave program.  For example, tonight the group cooked dinner for a teen shelter, participated in their support group, and talked to them about avoiding bad health habits and setting goals.  It is safe to say that, while they have been putting on a clinic for others, they have been receiving healthy life lessons themselves as they have met and been inspired by people on the other side of the healthcare divide.  This experience should impact their growth into healthcare professionals with conscience and compassion.

A-OK After Traveling All Day!

Well, we can all breathe easily now, because after arduous treks ranging between 10 minutes and 10 hours the six WBA trips who left campus Saturday morning all reached their destination as of 9 p.m.  As you can see from the photos below, they are all quite happy about it.  Here's to a wonderful week of service and solidarity together!




All WBA Service Trips Successfully En Route So Far!

Good Morning friends, parents, and fellow Anselmians!

Our Winter trips are all successfully en route to their service sites! We began with bringing New Orleans and DC groups to the airport at 6 and 7 am this morning. Despite a slight delay on New Orleans layover, all travel is working out beautifully. WBA departs

We have a sunny day for driving, and the roads are beginning to warm up and clear up so I am assured that all trips driving today to Maine, New Jersey, and Philadelphia will be having a great day for a road trip! (Obviously our trip here in Manchester will have a lovely 10 minute drive across town!)

Our Camden trip will be departing tomorrow morning at 9am so stay tuned for updates! We will do our best to update via the blog and twitter when all groups have arrived!

WBA 2014 Is About to Depart!

Despite the New Years Blizzard to kick us off, Winter Break Alternative is still scheduled to depart on time tomorrow and Sunday for their service trips! The temperatures are frigid but the roads are clear, so please pray for our 92 participants that they have safe travels and wonderful weeks in places like Orland Maine, Manchester New Hampshire, Vineland New Jersey, Camden New Jersey, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Washington DC and New Orleans Louisiana!

We look forward to having you follow our blog or follow us on twitter with #SACWBA. God Bless our Anselmians and the wonderful ways they will put their faith into action this week!

Sending Forth with Love,

Joycelin Raho
Assistant Director of Campus Ministry

Winter Break Alternative Prepares For Service!

Each break at Saint Anselm College, the Office of Campus Ministry sends students (and a handful of faculty/staff) to do service in several locations both domestically and internationally. The Service & Solidarity Missions program, now in its 24th year, provides its participants not only with the opportunity to serve others but also with an experience that further develops lessons learned in the classroom.

Service & Solidarity candles and crosses at the send-off MassThroughout their week of service, prayer, and reflection students step beyond their comfort zone and ask themselves meaningful questions about who they want to be in the world.

This year 109 Winter Break participants will journey throughout the United States to places such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Orland Maine, Camden New Jersey, Manchester New Hampshire, Vineland New Jersey, New Orleans Louisiana, and Washington D.C.

We ask for your prayers for these participants, for the work they will be doing, the communities for which they will be serving, and the personal challenges each participant will face.

We ask for your support of these participants.  Many times participants come back from these trips overwhelmed with their experience. Please ask them about their week upon their return.

Please consider joining us for the WBA send off Mass on Friday, January 3 at 7 p.m. in the Lady Chapel, Lower Church.

On behalf of the Service & Solidarity: WBA leaders and participants 2013-2014, and the entire Campus Ministry staff; I thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

Joycelin Raho
Assistant Director of Campus Ministry