Eight University of Providence students traveled during spring break to New Orleans, Louisiana to rebuild homes for residents who fell victim to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Students worked as a team to help reconstruct some of the 28,000 homes destroyed by what’s been deemed the costliest natural disaster in US history. Nearly 2,000 people were killed by the hurricane and property damages estimated at a staggering 81 million dollars.
As a way of aligning themselves with the poor, students gave up more than just spring break for their New Orleans mission trip, with instructions to leave behind all electronic devices, including cameras, cell phones, ipods, watches and make-up. Part of the mission taught students to live simple, with each student given $3 per day for food in an attempt to experience first-hand the poverty being faced by survivors. The intended goal for the trip was to focus attention on a community-in-need, practicing the University’s message of “uncommon courage” while working together as a team and other volunteer groups, in a joint effort to bring a vibrant and self-sustainable recovery and rebirth to the region.
Habitat for Humanity
Catherine Gray, a sophomore, English and Art major participated in the Alternative Spring Break for the second time. She stated, “I think it is really important that the school has this opportunity to offer. This is a more meaningful way to spend Spring Break and I am grateful for the school for funding it and offering us a way to reach out to those in need.”
During their five days in Spokane, students received an orientation to Habitat for Humanity and visited some of the sites where houses have been built, as well as visited future construction sites.
This was the second year the University of Providence offered an Alternative Spring Break.
El Salvador Mission Trip
Ten University of Providence students spent part of their winter break on a mission trip, volunteering their time to build a home for a needy family in El Salvador
Last spring a number of students expressed interest and brought to the table the idea of a mission trip. They wanted to do something more to assist those in need. “Since coming to the University of Providence, I have realized how important service work really is. I feel like this is a way for our school, as a Catholic University, to get out there and perform service work and show our Catholic identity,” noted Andrea Spake, a sophomore Biology Major.
Emily Busby, a sophomore History Major and a Political Science and Sociology Minor, stated, “This trip to El Salvador was important to me because it was a humbling experience. I was able to see first-hand what it is like to have nothing. I experienced the culture and learned for myself how to be a humble person.”
Haiti Relief Efforts
Directly following the January earthquake in Haiti, University students collected money that was sent to Providence Health International, a ministry of Providence Health & Services, the parent organization of the University, in an effort to provide assistance and relief funds to those affected by the Haiti earthquake. Students also raised awareness of the needs in Haiti disaster and came up with the idea for the Alternative Spring Break. Students wanted to take a more proactive approach and do what they could to help in the Haiti relief efforts.