For SJC students, service learning is a crucial part of the college experience. A duty to others, in development of oneself, is not only in the mission of the College, it’s an essential piece of what the founding members of SJC set out to establish more than 100 years ago.
A large component of service-centered learning at SJC is found in the College’s annual Alternative Spring Break.
So while most college students were heading south toward sunny beaches this March, a group of 30 St. Joseph’s students, faculty and staff from both campuses were Oklahoma-bound — setting out to assist Moore, Oklahoma, an area recently stricken from a series of tornados and earthquakes.
Organized by the Office of Campus Ministry and director Patrick Tracy, Alternative Spring Break gives members of both SJC campus communities the opportunity to travel and dedicate their time to helping communities recovering from disaster One of those students, Miranda Ortiz ’18, filmed the experience firsthand, and offers up a personal account of the experience below.
This trip consisted of 30 people, I knew two, and I think that was my favorite part. I took myself out of my comfort zone and decided to submerge myself into a new experience — I ended up taking away so much more than I ever could have asked for; I haven’t had that much fun in a very long time.
We met an elderly woman, Betty, who was so incredibly grateful for the service we were doing to her home. We did minor repairs on the exterior of her home around her roof that included painting and scraping, we gave her a new garden in her front yard, and painted her shed.
Serve More, the non-profit organization that we worked for, offers three different programs and we contributed to two of them: neighborhood revitalization and their building projects. We met an elderly woman, Betty, who was so incredibly grateful for the service we were doing to her home. We did minor repairs on the exterior of her home around her roof that included painting and scraping, we gave her a new garden in her front yard, and painted her shed.
At the Community Renewal Center, also known as the Serve Moore Headquarters, we built two picnic tables for the centers volunteer outdoor lounge. We completed one shed, and built two other shed kits that will be assembled by future volunteers.
The sheds will be given to families that have lost storage due to the E-5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013. Aside from that we were able to enjoy Oklahoma and all that it had to offer. We went to the Oklahoma City Zoo, as well as an Oklahoma City Thunder NBA game. Almost every night we ended with dinner, ice cream and card games. Everyone was so genuine and welcoming.
Everyone was on that trip for the same exact reason, we all wanted to help someone. I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding, authentic experience.
I think the best part of the trip and the experience as a whole was that it was so raw — everyone was on that trip for the same exact reason, we all wanted to help someone. I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding, authentic experience. I’m so excited to attend future trips and become more involved with local nonprofits and community service opportunities.