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Students use break to give backFebruary 14, 2012
While many Rockhurst University students were enjoying the unseasonably warm January weather in Kansas City, some other Rockhurst students were enjoying even warmer weather on their winter service trips.
Over the winter break, these 25 students, faculty and staff spent more than 1,000 hours volunteering in New Orleans and Nicaragua as part of the University's annual winter service trips. This was the sixth year Rockhurst has partnered with organizations in Louisiana and the second year students have gone to Nicaragua.
“We intentionally strive to create longstanding relationships in our service-immersion trip program,” said Bill Kriege, assistant director of campus ministry.
The 10 students that went to New Orleans were charged with helping The Phoenix of New Orleans organization restore the city ravaged by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
LaKresha Graham, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication, has taken other trips to New Orleans since the hurricane. She said the city has seen significant improvement, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
While in New Orleans, Graham, Kyle Johnson, director of admissions, and the students helped with the construction of homes or hauling away refuse.
“Whatever needed to be done, we did,” Graham said. “We were there to help people rebuild their lives.”
As time has passed since the hurricane, more and more organizations are running out of funding and shutting their doors, Graham said, so there is still a need for volunteers.
“My recent trip to New Orleans allowed me to witness first-hand the lingering destruction from Hurricane Katrina,” Sean Fleming, junior, said. “I crave more opportunities like this where I can give back and help others.”
In Nicaragua, Mike Theobald, director of career services, Regina Fields, registered nurse with Research College of Nursing, and the students spent their time in the community of El Chonco, helping the local residents improve their quality of life.
This included digging wells and working on a facility that will be used to feed hungry children.
“I saw God each day in the people’s faces, in the work we are doing and in my surroundings,” Mikala Simon, Aberdeen S.D., sophomore, said.
Jackson Hill, co-director of missions for Amigos for Christ, who Rockhurst partnered with in Nicaragua, called the Rockhurst crew “one of the most hard-working and dedicated groups we have ever had.”Rockhurst-Brown Amigos for Christ Mission Trip 2012