Tuesday October 2, 2012

Learning to Serve

As fall break begins, some students are trading vacation for service to others in Dayton, New Jersey and rural Kentucky.

Fall break begins Wednesday evening, but some University of Dayton students will be trading a vacation for service to others.

"People are looking for something different to do than a typical vacation, and these breakouts fill up very quickly," said Mary Niebler, coordinator of cross-cultural immersion for the Center for Social Concern, which offers annual BreakOuts for students during the fall semester mid-term break, spring break and after classes end in May. "We provide both a learning experience and have them spend time doing service."

A total of 60 students will participate in REAL Dayton, which enables students to Reach out, Enrich themselves, act for others and Learn about the city their University calls home.

The program runs Wednesday through Saturday and helps students experience Dayton outside of the college "bubble," challenges stereotypes and turns them into advocates for the region, said Kelly Bohrer, the University's coordinator of community outreach.

Students will spend Thursday and Friday nights at Cricket Holler Retreat Center after days of immersion into the cultural life of Dayton. Students will take a tour of Dayton neighborhoods and meet community partners with the University's Fitz Center for Leadership in Community; tour cultural sites around Dayton; and do four community service projects each with 17 participating community agencies.

Students also will have the chance to eat food from local restaurants, interact with people who live within Dayton's city limits and reflect on their experiences with local community members and activists during a panel presentation on Thursday.

Groups of students also will travel to New Jersey and rural Kentucky to participate in service projects called "BreakOuts." At these locations, students have an opportunity to learn about urban and rural poverty and volunteer in a variety of service programs in schools, meal kitchens, health centers and housing construction.

  • The Romero Center Urban Challenge; Camden, N.J.: Students confront issues of poverty, race and class by serving in schools, with hot meals programs, at an HIV and AIDS drop-in center, and a food bank.
  • The Glenmary Farm; Lewis County, Ky.: Students blend service, education, prayer, reflection and sharing in an environment of simple living. Volunteers will work with several local sites doing housing construction, visiting with nursing home residents, working with those with developmental challenges, and at a food pantry.
  • Appalachia Immersion; Salyersville, Ky.: In rural Appalachia, students will get a glimpse into the UD Summer Appalachia Program (UDSAP) by visiting the local residents and learning of their rich culture, while building relationships.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of news and communications, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.