MANCHESTER, N.H. – Saint Anselm College student-athletes were among the 158 members of the Anselmian community to participate in Winter Break Alternative (WBA), the institution's Service & Solidarity Missions Trips Program.
Organized by the Office of Campus Ministry, 12 groups of 10-16 participants spend their winter break helping communities throughout North America with tasks such as home repair and construction, food service, hurricane relief, social justice, refugee resettlement and more.
Saint Anselm student-athletes traveled to locations in North Carolina, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. Among the 13 student-athletes were group leaders Emma Bartle (Acton, Mass.), Lauren Case (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Tim Holmes (Shirley, Mass.).
Bartle, a junior member of the Hawks field hockey program, volunteered her time with the Building Affordable Housing Habitat in Winston-Salem, N.C., helping to turn houses into homes. As one of two group leaders, Bartle learned about how the smallest acts of service can make a huge difference in the lives of others.
"I laughed harder and learned more in a week than I have all year on this trip," said Bartle. "The service and solidarity trips not only allow us to help other communities but to strengthen ours on campus as well. The bond formed between you and your group members is a special relationship that will stay with you forever, bringing you closer to people you may not have otherwise met"
Case, a senior captain of the women's soccer team, was a co-group leader on the Community Living Mobile Loaves & Fishes trip in Texas and she described her experience as "once in a lifetime." While her group ultimately helped countless people through their work, Case explained that the trip may have had more of an impact on the participants.
"It was amazing to see that so many students want to give their time to walk alongside those in need during their vacation time," remarked Case. "The experience allowed me to give back to the local communities and gain a better understanding of what goes on within the sites we serve at."
Holmes, a sophomore on the men's cross country squad, led his group at the Urban Poverty Relief DOOR in Atlanta, Ga., assisting the area's homeless population. He had previously participated in a Spring Break Alternative trip in Orland, Maine, working at a shelter and making lifelong bonds with the other volunteers. In fact, Holmes said that the Service and Solidarity program was one of the main reasons for attending Saint Anselm.
"The program is special," said Holmes. "[It] gives us the opportunity to love, not in words, but in action, to gaze upon another person and see them as good regardless of the circumstances they may find themselves in."
Holmes commented on the large number of hours that the administrative staff, student leaders and participants put into the program and how much training, learning and growing is required by each individual. He also believes that each student attending Saint Anselm should participate in the program at some point during his or her tenure on the Hilltop.
"Our group's intention [this year] was to break down the walls we had erected between our hearts and the homeless population who we were ministering to, perhaps entering into relations with these people who are yearning for someone to recognize that they too are human beings, that they too have worth, that they too have lives worth living," concluded Holmes.
A complete list of participating student-athletes from the Hilltop reads as follows.
- Emma Bartle, Field Hockey: Building Affordable Housing – Habitat for Humanity, Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Taylor Patterson, Women's Soccer & Women's Lacrosse: Hospitality for the Homeless – Andre House, Phoenix, Ariz.
- Sarah Bentley, Field Hockey: Restoration, Resilience and Re-Engagement – SBP & New Orleans Missions, New Orleans, La.
- Timothy Stap, Men's Cross Country: Restoration, Resilience and Re-Engagement – SBP & New Orleans Missions, New Orleans, La.
- Lauren Case, Women's Soccer: Community Living – Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Austin, Texas
- Farid Mawanda, Football: Community Living – Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Austin, Texas
- Nick Richard, Men's Lacrosse: International Community Engagement – Community Collaborations International, Puerto Rico
- Amanda Desimone, Field Hockey: Refugee Resettlement – International Institute, Manchester, N.H.
- Ally Irish, Women's Lacrosse: Simple Living & Stewardship – Nazareth Farm, Salem, W. Va.
- Jerome Seglah, Football: Simple Living & Stewardship – Nazareth Farm, Salem, W. Va.
- Georgia DuMars, Volleyball: Social Justice – Bethlehem Farm, Alderson, W. Va.
- Tim Holmes, Men's Cross Country: Urban Poverty Relief – DOOR, Atlanta, Ga.
- Bailey Conti, Women's Soccer: Urban Poverty Relief – DOOR, Atlanta, Ga.
For more information about the Saint Anselm College Service & Solidarity mission trips, visit https://www.anselm.edu/faith-service/campus-ministry/programs-and-events/service-solidarity-missions.