Service-learning programs flourish during spring break

by Dennis Brown

Some 170 University of Notre Dame students will fan out across the United States and into Canada and El Salvador during spring break (March 10-16) to participate in a wide array of experiential and service-learning initiatives.p. Organized by the University’s Center for Social Concerns, the programs provide students with hands-on opportunities to focus on issues of poverty, justice, peace and related topics through academic study, dialogue and volunteer service.p. This year’s programs are:p. p. ? El Salvador Initiative ? Twelve students are participating in this new program that is part of a three-credit course titled “Church and Society in El Salvador: Transforming Realities.” The spring break trip will give students an opportunity to both serve and engage in interdisciplinary research.p. p. ? Appalachia Seminar?A Notre Dame tradition for more than two decades, the Appalachia Seminar will send some 107 students to 15 sites in the impoverished region to explore religious, social, political and environmental issues and to serve in various home repair, clothing distribution, food bank and health care projects.p. p. ?L’Arche Community Seminar ? Six students will spend a week in a L’Arche community in Toronto, working with people with developmental challenges and examining the work and ministry of Jean Vanier.p. p. ?Migrant Experiences Seminar ? Seventeen students will work in the fields of Immokalee, Fla., picking tomatoes (donating their wages), assist agencies that serve migrant farmworkers, and meet with community leaders. A semester-long three-credit course developed around the migrant experience also is being offered this spring. The course examines changes in food production in the United States and the cultural and social issues related to migrant farm labor.p. p. ? Washington Seminar ? Nineteen students will take part in a program titled “Workers, Monks and Citizens: From Christian Anarchists to Christian Bureaucrats.” Participants will visit a Benedictine monastery, a Catholic Worker farm and several Catholic public policy organizations in the nation’s capital to explore the Christian’s call to be a citizen of both the heavenly and earthly cities.p. p. ?Hispanic Ministry ? Nine students will explore the various dimensions of Congregation of Holy Cross collaborative ministries at Nuestra Se?ora de Soledad Parish in Coachella, Calif., where Holy Cross religious and lay persons are involved in evangelization and outreach to the needs of the poor.

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