Students Spend Spring Break on Service Trips


Chris Marhevka

The NYC Team: top row: Devin McNulty, Tyler Bruening, Alma Diaz bottom row: Chris Marhevka, Julie Wagner, Julie Bishop, David Silvernail

Baldwin Wallace University’s Office of Community Outreach sponsored several Alternative Spring Break trips last month, each focusing on a different service goal.
Senior Drew Thomas led a group of 10 students to Kissimmee, Florida, for participation in Give Kids the World, an organization where “children facing life-threatening illnesses get to escape the real world,” according to Thomas. Give Kids the World allows these children to go anywhere in the Orlando area for the week.
Thomas and his group served in various capacities throughout their time in Florida, with responsibilities as diverse as working a merry – go – round to delivering pizza.
In addition to Give Kids the World, the group also worked with children in a battered women’s shelter called “Help Now, Osceola.”
“Every day was something new, something different,” Thomas said, who is far from unfamiliar with volunteering. He has participated in Alternative Spring Breaks since his sophomore year.
“It was definitely worth it, no matter how tired I was,” Thomas said.
Thomas also noted how beneficial it was to the participants.
“It was a chance to bond. Everyone came out and grew a little bit,” Thomas said.
“We were there to literally give kids the world,” Thomas said.
“That’s what it’s about.”
While Thomas and his team were heading south, junior Chris Marhevka and his team of five students were headed north to New York City to promote LGBT Awareness.
“It was the first trip addressing these issues,” Marhevka said, a fact he is hoping will change in the future.
During the week, Marhevka and his team worked with various organizations promoting equal rights, such as “Broadway Cares,” an entity fighting AIDS, and “Broadway Impact.” They spoke with representatives from the Hetric Martin Institute and volunteered at the Harvey Milk after-school program for LBGT students. The team also campaigned for Marriage Equality USA through phone banking and worked with the Housing Works Bookstore to promote LGBT issues.
“The LGBT population in this school is very present,” said Marhevka. “But I didn’t feel like there were a lot of opportunities [for volunteering off-campus].”
As to the outcome of the trip, Marhevka was both satisfied and nervous for the future.
“Overall, it was a success. Everything went smoothly and we met with legitimate representatives. My only concern, if any, is seeing it end here. I hope someone down the road takes up these issues,” Marhevka said.
He is also grateful to those who made the trip a possibility. “It was a challenge to get this to happen, but I’m so grateful it did,” Marhevka said.