Feature Story

Spring Break Service

April 3, 2018 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan’s 2018 Interfaith Service Teams Volunteer in U.S., Mexico

Restorative justice. Transformative reflection. Substantive community. Conscientious leadership.

Those are the “four essential pillars” that guided the spring break activities of five Oho Wesleyan University Interfaith Service teams. The nearly 40 students, their faculty-staff advisers, and other members of the OWU and Delaware communities gathered March 27 to discuss each team’s recently completed service and the lessons learned.

This year’s team destinations, missions, and members included:

Helping Houston Heal: Hurricane Harvey Recovery

In August, Hurricane Harvey dumped record amounts of rainfall and caused devastating flooding in Texas. This team spent the week helping to rebuild a family’s Houston-area home. The group worked with SBP, formerly the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit co-founded by an OWU alumnus Zack Rosenburg ’95 to assist with hurricane recovery efforts.

Helping Houston Heal: Hurricane Harvey Recovery

Houston team members:

  • Mary Ellen Haskett (logistics leader)
  • Leia Ashikawa (reflection leader)
  • Jenelle Collier
  • Evan Hudgens
  • Katie Kuckelheim
  • Isabelle Rodriguez
  • Alex Weiss
  • Chad Johns (adviser and director of OWU’s Spring Break Interfaith Service Week)
  • Annie Stinemetz (adviser)

Re-New Orleans: Hurricane Katrina Recovery

More than a decade after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans still struggles to recover. This team spent the week working with SBP to help insulate and drywall a family’s home. The team also explored community-building, as well as national and global responsibility for disaster restoration.

Re-New Orleans: Hurricane Katrina Recovery

New Orleans team members:

  • Avianna Carmoega (logistics leader)
  • Raissa Kanku (reflection leader)
  • Niharika Bangur
  • Colette Cosgrove
  • Emma Hall
  • Alexis Henson
  • Kacie Howell
  • Hannah Jackson
  • Mackenzie Sanczyk
  • Selam Weldu
  • Dina Daltorio (adviser)
  • Kristin Weyman (adviser)

Dare to Understand: Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia

This team partnered with The Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, with assistance from the Rev. Nicole Diroff ’02, the center’s associate executive director. The team attended Sikh, Hindu/Jain, Muslim, and Jewish worship services, met with Mormon leaders, and completed service at sites including a long-term homeless shelter for those with disabilities.

Dare to Understand: Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia

Philadelphia team members:

  • Mollie Marshall (logistics leader)
  • Elizabeth Urbanski (logistics leader)
  • Char Gross (reflection leader)
  • Ahmed Hamed
  • Annapurna Pakrasi
  • Sean McCartt
  • Lynda Hall (adviser)
  • Cole Hatcher (adviser)

Building and Rebuilding: Lakota Nation, South Dakota

This team traveled to the Rosebud Reservation to work to rebuild Lakota-Anglo relationships damaged historically by Christian missionaries. The team worked with Lakota Youth Development, an organization committed to helping Native youth know their culture and have access to people, places, and environments that help them to develop healthy lifestyles.

Building and Rebuilding: Lakota Nation, South Dakota

Lakota Nation team members:

  • Izzy Taylor (logistics leader)
  • Julie Muhl (reflection leader)
  • Maxwell Aaronson
  • Destiny Braden
  • Rachel Bush
  • Erin Magill
  • Alexandria Niemeyer
  • Theresa Schluchter
  • Makaila Weir
  • Tom Burns (adviser)
  • David Soliday (adviser)

Connecting with the Community: Bucerias, Mexico

This team worked with Human Connections, an organization that specializes in cross-cultural immersion with an eye toward growth and learning for all involved. Together, they explored the economics of social responsibility and sustainable practices, and they completed service projects including improving a playground and sorting recyclables.

Connecting with the Community: Bucerias, Mexico

Bucerias team members:

  • Sydney Quinn (logistics leader)
  • Thalia Sallas-Brookwell (reflection leader)
  • Abigail Culbertson
  • Alexis Greene
  • Dylan Hays
  • Em Sutliff
  • Ava Valore
  • Rosa Escobar (adviser)
  • Susie Long (adviser)

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Interfaith Service program at www.owu.edu/InterfaithService.