Stevenson University’s Mission: I’m Home club is volunteering more than ever before and is also teaching students life lessons along the way.
For the 2016–2017 school year, Morgan Somerville, director of student engagement, has organized four service trips to take place over fall, winter, spring and summer breaks.
NEW SERVICE TRIPS TO LOUISIANA AND NEW YORK
Mission: I’m Home will travel to Baton Rouge, La in March, New Orleans, La in January and Staten Island, NY in May. According to Somerville, Mission: I’m Home partnered with one charity that focuses solely on disaster recovery, the St. Bernard Project. Stevenson’s club started working with the St. Bernard Project nine years ago to help with the rebuilding process in New Orleans, La., after Hurricane Katrina rocked the coast in 2005.
According to its website, the St. Bernard Project has helped more than 1,060 families. They accomplished all of this with help from more than 100,000 volunteers from all over the country. Stevenson students were among those volunteers who donated their time and money to help others.
HELPING THE ST. BERNARD PROJECT
Unlike previous years when Mission: I’m Home traveled to New Orleans, La for spring break, the team will travel 81 miles northeast to Baton Rouge, La., in March. According to Somerville, the location change occurred at the request of the St. Bernard Project, who needed help in Baton Rouge. Recognizing the hardworking nature of Stevenson students, the organizers at St. Bernard made the request to work out of Baton Rouge. Somerville believes that the Baton Rouge trip will be a more powerful and intense trip because the disaster happened so recently.
When students participate as volunteers, it can very emotional to some, and others gain a sense of empowerment, said Somerville. “Something in their core is rocked by this trip,” she added.
The vice president of Mission: I’m Home, Corrin Harris, agreed with Somerville, explaining she, too, had a very emotional feeling being in the disaster zone.
“It leaves you speechless, and there is still so much devastation,” said Harris. Romas Laskauskas, assistant professor of business, said that students “discovered the very personal value of community service.”
Somerville explained that the volunteer trips can change someone’s life, for being in “ground zero” hanging drywall, doing demolition, and working 40 hours a week can make students think differently about the world and themselves. She hopes to continue these volunteer trips for many years to come.