Spring break leads to student solidarity

Justin Niedenthal

“Volunteering a lot of the time is about meeting the people who have answered this call or mission to serve those in need everyday and when you make yourself of service you show your true colors and the love of humanity shows through you…I would recommend anybody going on a volunteer trip,” said Kendra Moylet, a junior fashion merchandising major.

Moylet participated in one of Kent State’s alternate spring break options last year and enjoyed her experience so much that she is planning her own volunteer trip for this year.

Moylet’s group departed for Cincinnati in two vans as complete strangers but by the end of the trip, the whole group had become very close friends.

“We stayed at the Tau House in Cincinnati and on the first day we built a house for Habitat for Humanity! We mainly worked on the siding on the front of the house, it was a lot of fun working as a group and working with your hands,” Moylet said. “We didn’t get to meet the people who were going to live in the house, but it was really cool from the beginning of the day till the end of the day seeing the progress 15 people can make.”

The next day Moylet’s group went to St. John’s to help care for the homeless. St. John’s serves the local homeless one hot meal a day and also hand out packed lunches.

“One of the best experiences I’ve ever had that truly touched my heart more than anything was while I was serving at St. John’s,” said Moylet. “There was this guy who is an artist and after I handed him his sandwich he asked to draw me.”

Moylet and the man then head outside. He then pulled out a pack of colored pencils and began drawing her. “So he is drawing and singing to me and we begin having a great conversation and before I realized it he was finished.”

“I just couldn’t help but break down in tears,” said Moylet. “I still look at the portrait every day, to remember traveling, to remember that kindness and true love come from the heart and that everyone has so many special gifts to give.” 

“Students that go on the alternate spring breaks tend to come back a little shell shocked at how much they learned about themselves,” said Amanda Paulus, the program coordinator for Kent State’s alternate spring break. “We want to empower students to want to create social change.”

For Moylet, the alternate spring break experience empowered her to organize her own volunteer trip . She will be taking seven individuals to Alamo Texas to help the local migrant worker population.

The alternate spring break experience is meant to evoke a sense of solidarity in students.

“I grew up on a farm, so I am excited to go work in the fields and get a better sense of the people in America who grow our food and work the fields day in and day out,” said Moylet.

Anthony Quinn a sophomore communications studies major, attended the same trip as Moylet with a similar result.

Kent State’s alternative spring break service trip was one of the best times of my life. Over the course of a week I made some of the coolest friends and helped my fellow man. We experienced a lot of different things in Cincinnati and explored a lot of the city’s rich culture,” Quinn said.

Alternate Spring Breaks are offered by the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement. Destinations include Washington, Buffalo, Chicago, and various cities throughout Ohio. 

“My experiences on alternative spring break are the kind that last a lifetime. I gained a lot of great experience and had a blast with so many interesting people. We made a ton of wild memories and learned so much about service work. I definitely recommend this trip to anyone who wants to build their skills in community service and non profit work,” Quinn said.

Justin Niedenthal can be reached at [email protected]