Alternative break will send Detroit Mercy students to four sites

About 60 Detroit Mercy students will head to one of four locations for Alternative Spring Break, March 4-11, to experience different lifestyles, create relationships and make an impact for the better.

Each group will be living in a different environment for five to seven days. These are the sites being offered through the University Ministry program:

  • Misericordia near Chicago, aiding persons with disabilities;
  • Nazareth Farm in West Virginia, dealing with rural poverty;
  • St. Louis, Missouri, where students will be staying in a rental house and assisting locally;
  • and Detroit, working with the Capuchin ministry.

“Misericordia is a Mercy project, so that very much connects with our Mercy founder for the university,” said Anita Klueg, University Ministry director. “Students will be working with people with disabilities and will stay in a retreat center.”

Sophomore Mary Payne has been to Misericordia.

“Definitely being at the McAuley Skilled Nursing Facility (there) was something that inspired me,” she said. “To be in the room with the residents and to get a greater understanding of what they go through and being able to help in some way are things that have impacted me.”

Payne said that Misericordia gives children and adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to live in a community where they have independence that they might not otherwise.

“It was a really fun environment and a great community,” said Payne.

Senior Josh LaFave has been to Nazareth Farm.

It was founded on four cornerstones: service, community (with students from other universities), simplicity (as in simple living in solidarity) and prayer.

A non-profit organization in rural West Virginia, Nazareth Farm also is about service. Volunteers help with home repairs, including roofing, painting, dry walling and other projects.

Come summer, LaFave will begin a year at the farm.

“I just fell in love with the place when I was down there,” he said. “It’s definitely been a huge part of my life. It’s something I never expected to have happened and now it’s going to be my home for a year. But it will always be a home in my heart.”

LaFave is proof that Alternative Spring Break can be a life-changing experience.