Eighteen Clark undergraduate students and two alumni volunteers took a 27-hour bus ride to spend their March spring break in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, restoring abandoned buildings and demolishing homes destroyed by the catastrophic floods of August 2016.
News coverage of the Clark students’ volunteer work in Baton Route, Louisiana.
They joined forces with three dozen more students from Assumption College, WPI, and other New England area colleges to work with Saint Bernard Project and Rebuilding Together and help a community devastated by what CNN reported was “the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy.”
The students installed fiberglass, put up drywall, and painted while others worked at the Hope Ministries Community Center or restored an abandoned warehouse recently donated to Rebuilding Together.
“Our work at the community center and the warehouse allowed these local organizations to be more effective in serving those in need,” Joseph Teng ’21 said. “Sometimes the givers need giving.”
Every evening the group would have dinner and community time together and would tell stories about loss and hope as it relates to faith.
“With this year’s curriculum, we were able to build strong and personal bonds as we shared about our own stories of loss,” Ophelia Okoh ’17 said.
Clark’s chapter of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship organized the trip for the Clark students; the chapter has made it possible for students to volunteer in Louisiana over spring break for the past seven years. Participation was not limited to those who are Christian; those who participate are expected to be open to talking about faith.
Okoh said the trip brought together students who have a “heart for service.”
“Baton Rouge still needs help, and it’s easy to forget from the outside that people are still affected even over a year later. I was just glad I could help, even in such a small way,” said Victoria Beyer ‘21.
Clarkies who participated in the Alternative Spring Break trip to Baton Rouge included:
- Victoria Beyer ’21
- Rashida Buchanan, ’17 (Intervarsity volunteer staff and a graduate student in Clark’s fifth-year M.S. in Professional Communications Program)
- Johnny Bui ’20
- Amelia Curry ’21
- Koby Gardner-Levine ’18
- Koki Hayashi ’21
- Kathlyn Koranteng ’19
- Young Sun Lee ’19
- Kyungrok Lee ’21
- Erica McIntosh ’20
- Kwame Morgan-Asiedu ’18
- Andreana Nop ’19
- Ophelia Okoh ’17 (Intervarsity volunteer staff)
- Faustina Owusu ’21
- William Sanders ’21
- Gabriella Southwick ’18
- Joseph Teng ’21
- Nancy Vo ’20
- Ruth Weche ’20
- Rose Wine ’20