Latest Update: Camden Heading Back To The 'Hilltop'

Camden on the road home! Expected at the hilltop @ 7 p.m.

WBA trips to Texas, D.C., D.R., and New Orleans begin their return to the Hilltop after an amazing week of service. Camden has another day! We look forward to welcoming our students back to campus, and hearing more about their week of service in the days to come.

Texas: Back on the Hilltop!

D.C.: Back on the Hilltop!

D.R.: Expected to land at 10:05 then headed back to campus with New Orleans!

New Orleans: Landed safely at Logan and headed back to campus soon!

Camden: Enjoying another day of service – they return to campus on Sunday evening!

Mid-Week Check-Ins

And the Saints come marching in…New Orleans (NoLa) has checked in, and we have now heard from all five our our service sites. Hard to believe the week is at its mid-point. Our students are having great experiences, and we look forward to hearing more stories as the week continues.

New Orleans (NoLa)

NOLA volunteersLeaders Matt Pendergast and Sarah Haigh called full of energy. They are having a wonderful week in New Orleans.  Spending each day at the Joan of Arc School with students – helping the school, tutoring, and assisting in the classroom. Evenings have been full with a variety of activities from touring the Cathedral to having an eye opening dinner with the Superintendent for the Dioceses of New Orleans. Tonight after dinner they head to a speaker and learn about wetlands. As the week winds down they will get to explore this rich and historic city, maybe eat a Beignet or two, and plan to go to the Katrina Museum. Watch for more tweets from this group, moved by the spirit of this inspirational city.

Camden & Texas Check-In

Camden: Leanne D'Entremont and Justin Ecklison, leaders for the Camden, NJ trip checked in. They have had a busy week at the Romero Center. They are joined by groups from Fordham University and Alvernia University. It has been fantastic getting to know students from others schools committed to service. The group has gone to a local Nursing Home, volunteered at a "day care" for adults who have disabilities and each evening they have heard speakers discussing Catholic Social Teaching and poverty. Tonight they meet up with two Saint Anselm alums Brad Landry and Josh Dupuis and will tour Philly. Tomorrow they take on the "Urban Challenge" where they are divided up into groups of four and must feed their group of 4 with a total of $12.  This exercise simulates what the average American on food stamps experiences. They anticipate that the exercise will be both challenging and eye opening. Friday they head to a food bank for the day, but they don't head back to the Hilltop until Sunday.

Texas: Martha Lombard and Ian Snyder, our pioneers who are leading the first Education major/minor specific service trip also checked in. They have been working with Saint Anselm alum James Melone '05. They have had wonderful experiences at the schools and in Austin. Assisting in classrooms, doing lesson plans, tutoring children and learning from teachers, principals and the local A.C.E. teachers has truly been enriching. Fr. Anselm celebrated Mass for one of the elementary schools, and really is enjoying his time in the area. Prof. Wasielewski is offering workshops to the teachers and touring the various schools throughout the week.

One highlight to share from Austin the leaders shared involves one of their participants Vinny DeSilva. Vinny is learning Spanish from the students at his school. It sounds as though this exercise has been a bit of a challenge. The biggest obstacle is Vinny's thick Bostonian accent. The Texan students keep teasing and asking what is wrong with his voice. Looking forward to many more stories like these and promises of pictures to come.

Washington, D.C.

Leaders Anthony Murphy and Christine Lester checked in this afternoon. The group has been very busy in our Nations Capitol. Daily they divide into two groups and visit various sites each day.

Some highlights:

  •  "A Wider Circle"  a donation center which provides furniture and clothing to those most in need.  Here clients shop on one of the two floors much like shopping in a furniture or clothing store. All items are free!
  • "Food & Friends"  at this site locals can receive a hot meal or groceries for their family. They serve 3,700 meals a day. Christine's group of 7 served 300 bags of groceries during their service time here.
  • Last night the entire group attended a "service dinner" where the group joined 12-15 people who are homeless as they shared their stories, ate dinner and played board games.

It was great to hear from them. They are having an tiring but very successful week! Hoping for pictures soon.

Dominican Republic

DR volunteersSpoke with Ashley Giddinge and Shane Smith (leaders to Dominican Republic) bright and early this morning. She sounded wonderful and said the group is doing well. They have been building a house in the community in which abuts Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos and will be putting the roof on the house today. Additionally, throughout their week they have been working in the fields picking yuka and sweet potatoes, preparing meals in the kitchen, tutoring at the school, and spending lots of time with the children.

Tomorrow they will tour the on-site clinic. Ashley noted that leaving the children in a few days would be particularly difficult and that the experience overall was exceptional. With limited cell phone and Internet access we will look forward to seeing pictures when they return.

Saturday Evening Update

After starting their day in Manchester, Texas and Washington have arrived at their sites and are settling in. D.C. spent part of their afternoon exploring Washington, including a walking tour to Capitol Hill. Texas is scheduled to have dinner tonight with James Melone '05, Head of Middle School at St. Gabriel's Catholic School.

New Orleans just landed, and will be heading to their site shortly. Camden spent the day volunteering in Manchester, and will depart Sunday for New Jersey.

WBA Arrival and Departure Update

Leaders Ashley Giddinge and Shane Smith called at 4:30 a.m. as the group was getting into bed after their long trip and a one hour delay at JFK.  All are well, a little tired, but will be ready to meet the kids early this morning and start the week of service.

Our trips to Texas and DC got off without a hitch.  DC has landed and learning the DC metro and enjoying our nations capitol.  Texas is still en route.

Our New Orleans trip will be meeting in Campus Ministry shortly to begin their departure.

Camden will be serving in Manchester today and departing early tomorrow morning for New Jersey.

WBA Send-off Mass: Trips Begin Departures

Mass was celebrated at 12:30 p.m., sending forth our participants for WBA 2013.

The trip to the Dominican Republic is gathering in Campus Ministry and soon will be headed to Logan International Airport for their departure. Our trips to D.C. and Texas meet at 3 a.m. to catch flights early tomorrow morning for their sites.  The New Orleans groups will meet later tomorrow morning for their flight at noon. Our Camden participants will spend their Saturday volunteering right here in Manchester, NH to begin their week of service before they head to Camden, NJ on Sunday morning.

More updates to come as our students arrive and begin their week of service!



Winter Break Alternative Trips Gearing Up

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 23rd 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.  Throughout 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.

Its hard to believe but in just over 2 weeks our Winter Break Alternative trips will be heading out to do service in 5 different communities.  Leaders arrive back on campus Wednesday, January 2nd to finalize their departure details and participants arrive back on the hilltop Thursday, January 3rd for a retreat and the WBA Send-Off Mass on Friday, January 4th at 12:30 p.m.  The first trip departs to the Dominican Republic on Friday evening with the other 4 trips departing the morning of Saturday, January 5th.   All will return after a week of service on Saturday, January 12th.  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.

This year our WBA participants will be serving the following communities:

  • Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, childrens home in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
  • St. Joan of Arc School in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Romero Center in Camden, New Jersey
  • St. Gabriel's Catholic School in Austin, Texas (a trip for those with a major or minor in education)
  • Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP) in Washington, D.C.