Prya Oliveira, Staff Writer
This year for the Alternative Spring Break Immersion trip, Saint Martin’s is having students visit Flint, Mich. and McAllen, Texas to volunteer in their communities. Several students planning to attend the trip, provided insight on what the fundraiser was for, and whom it would benefit.
Their fundraiser that sold Krispy Kreme donuts will support students attending the trip by assisting with their transportation costs, food, and other necessities. Sarah Tano, a sophomore, majoring in Civil Engineering, clarified that students going on the Texas trip will be working close to the border, witnessing what the locals are dealing with on a daily basis.
Tano said that Sr. Norma will be helping those on the trip to better connect with those living there. According to Tano, Sr. Norma works closely with the children in McAllen, and is a great person to help Saint Martin’s students understand the dynamics of the community.
On the other end of the country in Flint, students will be visiting families still living in the town, though many locals were forced to leave their homes for health reasons. The volunteers from Saint Martin’s will join up with organizations that already exist in Flint and help to assist them in supporting the locals.
When asked why she chose to go to Michigan instead of Texas, and what she hopes to accomplish with this opportunity, Tano said, “Personally I chose to go to Flint because I’ve always heard about it in the news, and I really wondered how this could actually happen. Going there makes it feel more real, it’s something that I’m going to experience and I want to see how this problem affects the people who are still stuck there.”
Cori-Ann Morioka-Kam, a junior majoring in Political Science, said that her role on this trip is to be a team leader. She will facilitate conversation, and ensure people are respectful and obey boundaries.
Morioka-Kam said that her goal for this trip is, “to give students a broader view of community because as people of faith we are supposed to look at everyone around the world, and help everyone who requires aid. We also work to educate people around issues that are happening so that they can advocate for a way to solve the problems that they’ve witnessed.”
Another team leader for the trip is Monique Ilae-Hasegawa, a junior majoring in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology. She shared her own personal goal for the trip: “learn more about places outside of Washington and compare situations like homelessness and poverty, and bring those experiences back to Saint Martin’s so that we can talk about them and address them. I believe that we are going to see similar issues even though we are in different places.”
It is inspiring to see students on campus so passionate about making an impact in other communities. Hopefully, those involved in this trip can influence future Saints to take on opportunities that benefit them as future leaders.