A group of students will spend six days in New York City serving non-profits and connecting with alumni who have needs that students can meet during spring break.
Sponsored by the Office of Student Development, this second group to travel to New York City will help at the nonprofit organizations Comprehensive Development, Inc and A House on Beekman.
Mentors for the group are Dr. Bob Strader, director of the Office of Residence Life Education and Housing, who went with last years’ group, and Dr. Jan Meyer, dean of student leadership and development.
Students will leave March 12 and return March 18. The trip has been approved for Spiritual Formation Event credit, and students who participate will receive five credits.
Activities planned include attending a local church services and small amounts of sightseeing. Students will volunteer with A House on Beekmen, a nonprofit that helps single and low-income mothers and their children, by helping with the preschool and after-school programs as well as their annual fundraiser event.
A House on Beekman is unique because it was birthed by a college student’s vision. Sara Frazier Miller had the idea while she was attending college at New York University and her idea has since grown into a non-profit with 15 employees.
“You’re never too young to dream about, if you see a need, what can you do about it,” Meyer said.
Students will also volunteer with CDI, located in a local magnet school, where students will help with a leadership retreat and conduct mock college interviews to help the high school students gain experience.
The idea for the spring break trip was inspired by ACU’s history of spring break campaigns, Meyer said. In the past, student-sponsored groups would find places all over the country to go and serve in the name of Jesus. In the past decade, these types of service trips have declined, because fewer students were interested. Meyer said one of the goals of this trip was to revive the spring break experience for those who are interested.
Although Meyer did not go on the spring break trip last year, she did travel to New York City the following May to visit with Sara Frazier Miller and Jordan Wesley, site coordinator for CDI. One thing Meyer wanted to ensure was that students were doing “real work” that contributes to the organizations. Meyer said Miller and Wesley were grateful for the students who helped and asked if they would come back the next year.
It is possible that the trip will turn into a long-term event and grow as the organizations need more help. For instance, students may have the opportunity to travel to New York City during the summer to volunteer with A House on Beekman’s summer camp ministry.
“The thing that I’m most excited for on the trip is the ways that God is going to use me and shake my spirit,” said Mattison Miranda, junior psychology major from Pineland. “I feel like what Dr. Meyer said in our first meeting spoke to me personally; we may not change the worlds of the people who we might come across, but our own personal worlds will be forever changed.”
Students traveling for spring break get to see what they may not normally see, Meyer said, but it is important that students realize there are the same kinds of needs in their own community. They do not need to use spring break as an excuse to help.
Meyer is most excited that the two leaders, Miller and Wesley, are women and the entire group of 10 students are women. She said she believes college students can listen to those who are a stage ahead of them and gain inspiration.
“I am excited to see how God is going to change our lives by challenging us and by providing this close group of girls with the requirements to go out and serve those who are worthy of His love,” said Erin Wiggins, sophomore psychology major from Arlington.