Over spring break, NWU junior Deirdre Hoffman is opting not to return home or bask in the sand and sun. Rather, she’s joining other Nebraska Wesleyan University students for a spring break spent doing service.
“There is no greater feeling than giving to others and changing lives for the better,” said Hoffman.
Students enrolled in Nebraska Wesleyan’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are on spring break this week. Hoffman and other students who signed up for the alternative spring break — organized by University Ministries and the Service Learning Office — hit the road and drove west to Denver, Colo., where they are immersing themselves on issues of hunger, homelessness and poverty.
They will serve breakfast at homeless shelters, volunteer at the Food Bank of the Rockies, participate in a paint-a-thon and paint homes for the elderly, and spend time at the King Adult Enrichment Program, which serves young adults with multiple sclerosis.
“It is our hope that as students experience their time in Denver, they will gain a greater understanding of how to respond to this need and begin to reflect on how this experience relates to the needs they see around them on an everyday basis,” said University Minister Mara Bailey.
This is the fourth year that University Ministries has offered a spring break alternative, called “Give Me Your Hand.” Service projects alternate each spring in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Denver.
“I am passionate about helping the homeless and poverty populations in our world,” said Hoffman. “In order to help them, we have to understand their everyday life and what they experience.”
NWU junior Jake Jolliffe is volunteering for the second time with the “Give Me Your Hand” spring break trip. He traveled to Denver during his first year and was eager to return.
“I learned so much about Denver and how those actions can reflect in my hometown or here in Lincoln,” said Jolliffe. “It was a great spiritual trip to reflect on how many blessings I have and how I can put them to use.”
“Give Me Your Hand” isn’t the only alternative spring break option that NWU students are participating in this week. Fifteen students involved in the Art Club are in New York City where they met up with NWU art professor David Gracie, who is spending his sabbatical there this year.
While in New York City, students are visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and Brooklyn College.
“You cannot make art in a bubble,” said Gracie. “The students will see and learn so much during this trip that they will be feeding off of it for the rest of their time at Wesleyan. If you are an artist you have to spend time in New York City.”
Nebraska Wesleyan’s Touch of Class Jazz Choir kicked off its spring break concert tour on Sunday. They will perform at churches in Gothenburg and Scottsbluff in Nebraska and in Denver and Castle Rock in Colorado.
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