Mississppi needs some representation! Here I go:

The time spent down in the Gulf was remarkable. For me, it was my first time actually traveling outside of the Northeast and on an airplane. From the moment we left, I was experiancing something new every minute of that entire week. I will never forget it.

It’s hard to explain the trip and how I felt. I met many remarkable and interesting people. It’s always interesting to travel somewhere new. Especially in Mississippi. I would look out to an empty lot where there was a house and wonder what it looked like.

From Boston to Texas

Alternative Spring Break-El Paso, Texas

My first time on the other side of the Mississippi and boy was it fun…and rewarding. I don’t say this flippantly either. I went down to Texas to gain a new sense of what poverty and social need is like in other parts of the country. Working closely with the homeless community of Boston I see the hunger and the poverty and the need for assistance every day. When I was given the chance to travel to a state that is for one: nothing like the Northeast and two: in great need of people willing to help; I immediately jumped at the chance. Getting to know everyone on the trip was great, phenomenal even, but, I couldn’t have asked for a better reason to go than to witness first hand the appreciation that we saw in the eyes of the local children who live in Habitat houses. Being able to help out another family just like their’s was an entirely out-of-body experience. The life we have in Boston is far greater than the life they lead down there but what is remarkable is that the appreciation they carry in their hearts and their eyes is outstanding.

I watched Hector and little Matilda give their presentation on how their mom is disabled and was given the opportunity to own a Habitat house where the two of them could grow up safely and couldn’t help but shed more than a tear. To think even for a second that any of us have it that bad is sad.

A greater sense of self

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a month since we’ve been back from doing the S.O.U.L.S. Alternative Spring Break. A whole month! It feels as if I was just there yesterday watching Jake get out a bent nail from a wall we were building, that I had hammered in sideways several times. And yet at the same time everything feels very surreal, like maybe we never even went to El Paso and it was all a dream.

I think the reason why it feels that way once we’ve returned is because what we did is simultaneously one of the easiest and hardest ideas to grasp. I keep having to remind myself that we-built-a-house. A home. Where someone is going to live. What’s hard to grasp is the fact that a group of only 20 students can get so much accomplished in just one week to better our society. Who knew it could be so easy? What could get accomplished with a million more groups of 20 students? When you really think about it, you have sudden realization that every individual actually does have the ability to change the course of our society and our world. And when you become a part of that change, the feeling takes you over and makes you reassess your values and lifestyle.

After participating in two Alternative Spring Breaks already, it’s going to be hard for me to stop. The life lessons I’ve learned, friendships I’ve made, and my increased awareness of the world around me and my impact on my world make the Alternative Spring Break an experience of a lifetime, for which I am so thankful. Sure if you’ve never done an ASB before you may not be able to relate to these feelings, but I encourage everyone to put themselves out there and try it. Go even if you don’t know any of the other students, even if you should probably stay at home and work, and even if you have tons of schoolwork to catch-up on. Its worth it. And when you come back, I highly doubt you would regret it.

Trip of a Lifetime…

Alternative Spring Break in El Paso, TX was the most amazing trip I have ever been on. Despite the fact that I have been on many school trips; even on a trip to Europe, this trip was the most rewarding. Being able to spend a week with 19 other people that I didn’t know, and ending up with those same 19 people as friends for life…it’s amazing.
I want to thank everyone for this opportunity and I hope some of you sign up next year!

El Paso TX Habitat for Humanity!

I was very ecstatic when I found out I was going to El Paso, Texas. When Ally first described the project to me I became very exited. The week I was in El Paso my life changed tremendously. During that week, I was very blessed to meet Matilda and Hector! Beautiful Kids from El Paso! These beautiful kids lived in a Habitat House across the street from our work site. Seeing these kids made me feel so happy that I was there as a volunteer, building a habitat home for their future neighbors. Every nail I nailed, I thought about how grateful the family moving into this home would be of the work we accomplished.

I left my heart in Texas…

Going into Alternative Spring Break, I had no idea what to expect because I had never done anything like it before. However I did know that I would be making a difference in the community while at the same time forming strong relationships with my fellow ASB volunteers. Since it is difficult to sum up my entire week in one entry, let me provide you with a list of my favorite and most memorable moments that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

El Paso, Texas – I had never been in the Southwestern part of the US before this trip, and being in El Paso was like being in a different world for me. I loved the Texan culture and truly admired their Southern pride. Everyone in the South was welcoming and friendly, something often hard to come by in Boston. The weather was wonderful and the views picture-perfect – I don’t think any of us could have asked for a more interesting and exciting location for ASB.

Habitat for Humanity – Before the trip I knew very little about Habitat and what they stood for. I was glad I got to work on their team and find out how they operated. Volunteers for Habitat across the country do a lot of amazing work for those less fortunate. I especially admired the work of our leader Muriel and contractor Henry, because they are genuine people who give their time and hearts day after day to the cause. I would love to work for their organization in the future.

Building – The thing that I was most nervous about before going on ASB was the actual construction of the house we were to build. I am not the most handy person in the world, and I was afraid I would be useless on the site. Luckily, Henry and my peers were very supportive, and before I knew it I was hammering nails, painting, and helping to build whole walls. At the end of each day I was dirty, sweaty, sunburned, and exhausted, but still proud of what I had done. This trip helped me to realize I could accomplish challenges outside of my comfort zone.

The Border – Muriel educated us on one of the biggest problems facing El Paso – border security and immigration. The slide show she presented to us really opened up my eyes to the reality of the US-Mexican border issues, a subject that I knew very little about. Learning more about it really made me want to help the cause even more, and made me glad that even though we were only helping to build one house, we were still making a difference.

The Group – Although we worked hard all day, we had a lot of fun together on our time off. This trip gave me the opportunity to meet Suffolk students and staff that I would never have normally met. We were all united under one cause, and had a lot of fun at it, too. We made more inside jokes, amazing memories, and strong friendships in one week than one could ever imagine. We even joked that we all got a little too comfortable with each other too quickly!

This trip was so amazing, I didn’t want to leave Texas or my fellow volunteers when it came to an end. I learned so much about myself and others, and I don’t think that I stopped smiling the whole time. I recommend a trip like this to anyone who wants to make a difference and make some great friends along the way.

Ol’ El Paso

This is such a great program! I have to honestly say that I didn’t go down to El Paso to make new friends, but by the end of the week I felt so close with everyone! It is the most gratifying thing to see a group of students so intent on making a difference, even in one short week, when we are all burnt out from school and just want a vacation. We are not heroes, but I definitely have so much respect for everyone who has done this program with their spare time! I feel like we got so much accomplished, learned a lot, and grew a lot during our week for Habitat for Humanity! I am so thankful that this program exists, especially during this time when our country is experiencing a housing crunch, foreclosures, and a highly insufficient amount of quality low-income housing that has been steadily getting worse over the past few decades. It is devastating to not have a home, and so much of one’s livelihood, and as we saw, one’s family, depends on the ownership of property. We helped make that possible for a new family, and even though we don’t know who they will be, we can be sure it is going to a family in desperate need. GREAT WORK EVERYONE!!! I miss you all…


Texas was an unbelievable experience for all of us. I know that many valued not only the friendships that were made and still remain but how important it was to view the world from a completely different aspect. It was not only the kids we met, the people we worked with and what we learned about others and ourselves that made it so special, but the fact that living a completely different lifestyle in boston seemed to put everything into more perspective than we had already gained. I really miss el paso and all of you guys!


img_0002.jpgIt was 2:30 am on Saturday (3/15/2008). I finished watching a Celtics game and the Late Night Show with Conan O’Brian. My bags were packed and I couldn’t wait to leave. As my eyes became heavier, my phone began to ring. It was Mike’s wake up call, which came right on time. I woke my brother up and we headed towards the 150 Tremont Dorms. I picked up three students that I didn’t know much about, but I knew I would grow closer to at the end of this trip. We headed towards the airport and then began to wait for the other members of the ASB trip to get to Logan. Most of us were exhausted, but we stayed awake and mingled with each other. The time flew by and we eventually got on the flight to Dallas. I hate flying; especially the take-off and the landing. The ear-popping doesn’t help either. I slept the whole flight and woke up in Dallas. That airport was HUGE! We took a trip on a “Skylink”, which was this futuristic looking monorail. Our T would be awesome if it was like this.We had to quickly run to our connected flight to El Paso Texas. We all got on this flight and couldn’t wait to feel the warm weather of El Paso. We finally arrived to beautiful El Paso Texas. We got our luggage and stepped outside. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. I remember overhearing someone calling their family back in Boston and then telling us that it was snowing back home. That made me feel real good to be in El Paso, because I was getting sick of the cold weather. When we stepped outside there was an awesome background of mountains. We were all very hungry so we went to eat out at an Applebee’s. Some of us were a little agitated because we wanted to eat authentic Tex-Mex food. I think I got a little sick from eating there. Probably, some of the others got sick as well. The highlight of this first day was when we hit the highway to go to the church we were sleeping at. In the distance we could see a huge Mexican flag. We realized how close we were to the border and it was very exciting. We arrived at the church and everyone got settled. I was looking forward to our workdays on the house, but for now I needed the energy to work, so I called it an early night.