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.
When will the trip be?
Sunday, March 10- Saturday, March 16
Where are we going?
Rio Grande Valley, TX
What will we be doing?
We will be partnering with Proyecto Azteca, a non-profit organization in the Rio Grande Valley that constructs homes for the needy who live in the outlying colonias – unincorporated lands. Proyecto Azteca will provide us opportunities to also minister in the refugee centers, local soup kitchens, and throw a party for the children in the colonias. Common prayer, spiritual reflection, and celebration of the Mass will be part of our daily schedule as well.
How much will it cost?
We ask each student to personally fundraise half of the trip cost, $250, to support our trip – DUE BY February 1. In addition we will require all participants to take part in group fundraising efforts throughout the year.
If chosen for the team, students may wish to make various personal purchases (snacks, souvenirs, etc.) throughout the week. We ask you to provide your own money for these instances. Anywhere from $25-$100 is sufficient.
How many of us are going?
There is room on this trip for 15-17 students, depending on need (TBD). Campus Ministers, Shelby Ponikiewski, Nick López, and Chaplain, Fr. Thomas More will be with us on the trip
What is the application process?
Application can be found HERE and are due no later than 11:59 PM on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018.
*Be sure to sign up for an interview time as well (link to sign-ups on application).
You will be interviewed, the contents of which will be weighed along with your application.
If you are chosen you will receive a letter of acceptance to which you are to respond by the given date, accepting or declining your spot on the team.
How do you decide who goes on ASB?
Each student is evaluated on a case by case basis, taking into consideration a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:
What is the time commitment?
Once the team is selected in late October, there will be approximately one hour a week dedicated to on-campus fundraising for the remainder of the Fall. In the Spring there will be the same one-hour-per-week commitment. You will also be asked to commit to four 2-hour team formation sessions (2 in the Fall, 2 in the Spring), which are scheduled for Sunday afternoons.
For any questions please contact campus ministers, Shelby Ponikiewski at 972-721-5165