ANNIKA WALLANDER| FEATURES COLUMNIST
During Spring Break, 10 of our students traveled to Memphis, Tenn. on a service trip. The trip was inspired by the TRIPS program, which ships students every year on alternative breaks to spread joy through the great act of volunteerism.
This Spring Break, our students impacted the lives of families currently residing in Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. The students aided in volunteer services for families whose children have anything from minor injuries to critical diseases.
Volunteer services at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital entailed students spending time with children while parents took a break to breathe, being casted for practicing EMTs and handing out beverages and activities room to room for the enjoyment of warmth and fun before the families would approach Easter Sunday. Additionally, our students served at the Ronald McDonald House and the FedEx House, preparing a 100-person meal and baking ten dozen cookies. The students lent a friendly hand to those in need in the Memphis area.
Many great things were achieved during our students’ week to Memphis. The lives of families, staff and children were improved by the simplicity of a hot meal, a hot beverage or a smile. It’s amazing how the simple things in life impact people the most. Sure enough, our students didn’t solely improve the lives of families at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. The families in many ways impacted our volunteers throughout their time serving.
“Our trip to Le Bonheur was an incredible experience,” said Danny Wilson ’18. “This TRIP really opened my eyes to social injustices going on with children’s healthcare. Because of this TRIP, I hope to volunteer more at hospitals and help children get through tough times.”
Another student, Vince Masterodomenico ’17 similarly stated, “This TRIP was something truly unique in the sense that it gave me a sense of hope in life. Being that you are in a children’s hospital, you see sick kids and distraught parents on every floor. Hope resonates in the physicians, nurses, staff and volunteers at the hospital… This TRIP was so powerful because it showed me that something as little as getting a parent a cup of coffee or bringing a patient a coloring book can make the difference in a time of need. This TRIP has given me the ability to see that a little service can make a tremendous impact for many different people and has confirmed by future aspiration of being a pediatrician.”
The acts of service from the perspective of both Wilson and Masterodomenico show us that the act of service not only impacts the lives of others but is reciprocated unto our own lives.
Spring Break is a time when many college students relax and take some time for themselves. Our students went above and beyond to not only spend time doing what they love but also spend it for other people in need. The alternative break experience offered on our campus is a great thing, because it allows the heart of volunteerism to pump compassion through the blood vessels of the nation to many communities and individuals.
TRIPS participants pose for a photograph | Timorie Belk/Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital