Going into her alternative spring break trip with Marymount University, Sarah Roegner was a little nervous about doing a different type of service work every day. But during her time spent in Philadelphia, the junior from Alexandria learned she could do a lot more than she ever imagined, including delivering food to terminally ill patients, feeding the homeless, and working with at-risk kids.
She also learned that she had picked the right course of study.
Over the course of the trip I got the opportunity to work with children during an after-school program, Roegner said. I realized that God really did push me in the right direction when I decided to major in elementary education. I also realized through working with these children that I was being called to work in Title I schools after graduation.
Roegner was one of nine students who spent their spring break week in Germantown, Pennsylvania, accompanied by University Chaplain Father Thomas Yehl and Ashton Mallon, associate director of Marymounts Campus Ministry. In a separate trip, five Marymount students and Campus Ministrys Father Jack Peterson and Christa McMahon spent the week working with a Missionaries of the Poor monastery in Kingston, Jamaica.
The group in Jamaica did whatever the brothers needed, said Mallon, who has been to the country several times. That could mean working in residential homes with patients with HIV/AIDS, the disabled, children with chicken pox or it could be as simple as cutting fingernails, changing diapers or just keeping the residents company.
Both trips included a lot of prayer and reflection.
I love both of these places, Mallon said. I love seeing our students grow in so many ways. Seeing how much they grow spiritually, seeing their confidence grow as they talk to homeless people. Seeing their growth and humility and service is probably the best thing that we do all year.
It was Roegners first service trip.
This was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life, she said. It gave me a chance to get out of my comfort zone and really just interact with people. If I wasnt student teaching next spring I would definitely be on the next Alternative Spring Break!
Marymount University is an independent, coeducational Catholic university offering bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in a wide range of disciplines.
Marymount Universitys Margarita Hernandez, Abbie Wolf, Father Tom Yehl, Elizabeth Kasten, Andrew Boehme, Kevin Strickland and Sarah Roegner prepare to serve at a soup kitchen in Philadelphia.
Photo 2Marymount student Kristin Nioko spent spring break on a service trip to Kingston, Jamaica.
Bernadette Wunderly helps elderly residents in Philadelphia with a craft project.