Service Trip to Baltimore Inspires Career Refocus
With just a few months until graduation, Ali Quinones ’14, a fine arts and education double major, thought she knew exactly what kind of academic setting in which to begin her teaching career. But a recent service trip to partner with several Catholic charities and work in the soup kitchens and shelters of inner city Baltimore has changed that.
Ali was one of five students to make the trip, joined by Juan Quintana, Addison Ray, Samantha Licursi, Ariel Perez and chaperones Megan Kielty, director of student activities, and Jon Todd, head of residence life.
The service trip began at Our Daily Bread, one of the largest soup kitchens in Maryland. Other locations they volunteered at include Sarah’s House, transitional housing for families; Esperanza Center, a healthcare, social and legal services resource for immigrants; My Sister’s Place, a soup kitchen for women; the Weinberg Housing and Resource Center, which provides temporary overnight housing; and the Headstart program at an inner city school.
It was at the school that Ali found herself reevaluating her career plans.
“It changed my outlook on where I might want to teach,” she said of her time spent with 15 four-year-olds, 11 of whom have learning disabilities. “It took me from wanting to teach in a private school to working in the inner city.”
The service trip also had a profound affect on her future life plans.
“I definitely see myself continuing to volunteer in soup kitchens and shelters,” Ali said. “On this trip, I met people who had volunteered every Monday for 30 years.”
While she might have had a few regrets about waiting until her senior year to go on her first service trip, she appreciates how the experience helped broaden her views on the homeless and less fortunate.
“I don’t think I would have traded a minute of it for anything,” Ali said.
Read Ali’s account of her trip on Tumblr: http://elmscollege.tumblr.com/
Service trips are a way that Campus Ministry extends learning outside the classroom to help students form a sense of belonging, build compassionate response and critical thinking skills and form a foundation for leadership in their lives, faith, and traditions.