Building hope in Nicaragua

By on March 24, 2010

The term “Spring Break” is an idea which typically conjures up images of inebriated college students carousing the tropical beaches and nightclubs of Mexico.

However, for 28 Quinnipiac students, Spring Break was spent in the fields and schools of Nicaragua helping the disadvantaged, via the Albert Schweitzer Institute in partnership with the Alianza Americana school in León, Nicaragua. Students spent helped Nicaraguans with projects including laying floor tiles for a classroom, clearing out a field in order to help grow crops, and building a fence around it. MAT students gave teachers lesson plans to use with their students.

Students were selected by the school based on their grades, but also their involvement on campus. According to Student Government President Louis Venturelli, “everyone who went on Alternative Spring Break offered his own contributions and complemented each other.”

“I was inspired by a few of my friends and family members to do something bigger than myself, and give back to the global community which has given me so much,” he said. “The best part of the trip was building bonds with [27] other amazing student leaders, knowing I made a difference in the lives of those comprising an entirely different community, and most importantly, helping to give the gift of education.”

Senior Colin Wilkinson drew inspiration from Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute David Ives’ QU301 class “Indigenous Peoples” when deciding to go on Nicaragua Alternative Spring Break (NASB).

“After returning from NASB, I am able to look at myself, my personal relationships and the greater world around me a little differently, and prioritize things better,” Wilkinson said. “I have been inspired to pursue a career in helping others less fortunate than I.”

Sophomore Matthew Pankey’s future has also been inspired by the trip.

“NASB has helped me find my passion and calling in life, which is to continue to make change in the world and help those less fortunate, as opposed to seeking a typical materialistic profession,” he said.

Pankey believes watching the news does not do enough to make a difference, which is why he plans to continue being proactive. He aspires to make a trip to Guatemala and continue helping those less fortunate in Nicaragua.

“NASB is the greatest thing to happen to me and the greatest experience in my life, and has forever changed me,” he said.

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