Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is an opportunity for a student to use his or her Spring Break to serve those in need rather than themselves. The Alternative Spring Break Program began in 1994 by the Campus Ministry Office under the direction of Christine Edmonds. It focused on two primary locations - Ecuador and Mississippi - to assist established mission programs in both the United States and abroad. Today, the ASB program has suspended missions abroad upon the request of the Bishop of Dallas, but we still serve some of the poorest communities in America. Students may apply for the program in September. Interviews for places on the team(s) are held in October. Faith formation and community-building begins in November.
Every team member prepares for the mission trip in a few ways. They help with the fundraising activities of ASB (the Poinsettia Sale, Advent Tree, Valentine's Sale, and individual contributions). They participate in a one day retreat / community service project in the Spring semester before Spring Break. This preparation helps the students begin to form bonds with their teammates as well as mentally and spiritually prepare for the service they are about to embark upon.
The Alternative Spring Break team(s) leave campus the weekend Spring Break begins and drive to their service location. Team members live with the communities they serve in order to more effectively minister to each community's needs. Service to the community takes many forms: constructing houses, feeding the poor, tutoring children, building community with the handicapped, etc. The team members’ own spiritual needs are met through daily prayer, reflection time, and Mass. Through their work, each team member learns that their act of self-gift leads to an abundance of spiritual gifts in return.
After the mission trip, students return to campus more aware of the fortunes and graces with which they are blessed. The students speak about their experience at Dinner & Discourse (an open forum event campus ministry holds every Tuesday night) and write a personal reflection about their journey, which is published on the website. Many ASB alumni continue to participate in service while in college and after they graduate. Some even attend additional Alternative Spring Break weeks with us. ASB team members consistently say the mission trips are challenging, but that the gifts they received and the friendships formed are well worth the challenge.
If you desire to promote the mission of the Church, serve your neighbor as Christ serves you, and discover who you are by participating in an Alternative Spring Break, please contact our Campus Ministers Nick Lopez 972-721-5080 or Andrea Bonilla 972-721-5165 .