Students Put Service Before Self


This winter, 14 Anna Maria College students spent a week of their holiday break volunteering in Puerto Rico to help residents with home repairs still underway a year after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Preparing for lives as compassionate leaders with a commitment to community service, Anna Maria College students completed 5,800 service hours locally and abroad in 2018. “Service is one of the main values that we teach here at Anna Maria College and the Alternative Winter Break allows our students the opportunity to serve others where help is most needed,” said Mary Lou Retelle, President of Anna Maria College. “Most of our students are on the path to serve their community whether it be as a nurse, first responder, teacher, law enforcement professional or social worker, so an experience like this one helps shape them into better leaders in the community.” Joined by AMC’s David Breen, Chief Operations Officer and Melissa LaNeve, Director of Campus Ministry, student volunteers took on a variety of home construction assignments at three different homes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The construction assignments included installing/gluing floor tile, caulking, painting, installing window trims, grouting tile and dry walling. Upon returning to campus, Ashley Garcia, Anna Maria College undergraduate class of 2022, said "I was blessed to be given the opportunity to help those in need and be a part of relief efforts after the devastation of a natural disaster. Not only did I learn things I never thought I was capable of doing, it helped me reshape and redirect my path of wanting to give back in any way possible. I am beyond lucky that on this journey I gained so many amazing friends throughout my experience. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. No matter the color of our skin, the way we talk or walk, we are so similar and coming together to serve people in need is what we should dedicate ourselves to. We truly should live for moments like this and I know this past week, I’ve had so many and for that I am so grateful." Those participating in the 2019 Alternative Winter Break include:  

Clara Cassidy (Student Leader), 2019, Sturbridge MA

Jessica Grindell (Student Leader), 2019, Dennis MA

Timothy Austin, 2021, Babylon NY

Jessica Barbera, 2020, Wakefield MA

Keannah Dunsmore, 2022, St. Albans VT

Marisol Durango, 2020, Pawtucket RI

Ashley Garcia, 2022, New Windsor NY

Lauren Kirchner, 2020, Harwinton CT

Kayla McGrady, 2020, Nantucket MA

Danielle Mello, 2020, Dudley MA

Patrick McKenna, 2019, East Bridgewater MA

Kristan Richardson, 2019, Tewksbury MA

Alexandra Tessman, 2020, Auburn MA

Joshua Wozniak, 2021, Suffield CT “It was a fantastic trip and I was truly able to see the students grow and stretch themselves in the work they were doing,” said Melissa LaNeve, Director of Campus Ministry. “They left knowing that they had made an impact on many people’s lives simply from offering one week of their own lives in service.”

Catholic Intellectual Tradition Speaker Series
Art Center Gallery presents Nancy Diessner