I want to direct you to an excellent blog that is following the students from Buffalo State College in Buffalo, NY, who are spending their Spring academic recess on an Alternative Spring Break experience of service at the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, Pa. Julianne Wallace, a graduate-school classmate and good friend of mine, is a campus minister at Buffalo State College at the Catholic Newman Center and one of those facilitating this trip. A former Franciscan Volunteer Minister, Julianne is well-connected to the ministry in Philadelphia.
She, along with the students on the trip, have been documenting their experiences with video, photos and written blog entries. You can follow their experience at: http://asb2011philadelphia.blogspot.com/
The videos are particularly striking. I haven’t seen many service trips or alternative spring break experiences documented in such a creative way. What’s nice is the “Real World” (remember that first of ‘reality TV’ shows on MTV…is that still on the air?) type videos that Julianne films, interviewing different students about their experiences. The experiences of the students in near-real-time is powerful. Most of these daily videos take place shortly after the students have finished their daily tasks and have just paused, perhaps for the first time all day, to reflect on what’s been going on in their life.
Here is the most recent interview with a Buffalo State College student, Nathan, who is a USMC Veteran and spent the day visiting Camden, NJ, one of the poorest and most violent cities in the United States. It is striking to hear how this experience shaped Nathan’s outlook on the day and his ministry this past week. It seems that his time with the Franciscans in Philadelphia and Camden has even caused him to think about the possibility of a year of service after school.
For more videos, photos and text, visit: http://asb2011philadelphia.blogspot.com/