Fall 2012

Transforming Spring Break

Not everyone invades beach towns during Spring Break. For some students and faculty, it has become a time to transform the lives of others, as well as their own, through service.

A group of 45 Marywood students and faculty lived and shared the University’s mission and core values during the 2012 Spring Break, March 2-13. Participants traveled in groups to Philadelphia, PA; Joplin, MO; Franklin, WV; and El Progreso, Honduras. The students were involved in building and improving housing; assist in disaster relief; help build a school; and befriending children, families, and individuals affected by natural disasters. All of the student volunteers had one quote in common: “The best week of my life.” On March 25, formal group presentations to the campus centered on slide shows and talks from the students who attended the Spring Break Service Trips.

During this same time, a group of 11 Marywood University Graduate Social Work students traveled to India to work with several social services agencies in different parts of the country and become acquainted with Indian culture. The students were accompanied by India native Dr. Packiaraj Arumugham, Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Master of Social Work program, and by Dr. Lloyd Lyter, Director of the School of Social Work and Administrative Studies. The students traveled to five cities, including Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Trichy, and Agra, and they paid a special visit to the Taj Mahal.

The social work graduate students were able to work with Indian children at several universities and agencies. Most notable was a visit to Hope for the Hopeless, a non-profit orphanage founded by Dr. Packiaraj and his partner, Mr. G. Paulraj, in the professor’s hometown, Trichy. The orphanage houses boys of all ages, and the group was able to interact with boys between the ages of 8 and 12.  Both the graduate students and the young boys interacted through Indian and United States cultural presentations and socialization time. MSW candidate Megan Dickman recalls that this was her favorite stop, along with her classmates, despite the language barrier.

“It was a fun time interacting with them, and it was great to just be silly with the children. Even if you cannot communicate verbally, everyone can communicate non-verbally with smiles and laughter,” she said.

Standing in the back from left to right:  Mackenzie Goodwin, Sydney Pauline, Elizabeth MacNeal.  Kneeling in the front:  Colleen Geoghegan.  They are with children in El Progreso, Honduras, with the Students Helping Honduras trip. 

Dr. Packiaraj Arumugham and Dr. Lloyd Lyter with the students in Chennai, India.

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