May 9, 2017
While some Gulls flocked to warmer destinations, Mia Blum ’19, AJ Boyd ‘18, Anna Giles ‘19, Sarah Lippincott ‘18, Hannah Mathes ‘18, Hannah Monbleau ‘18, Bryan Palmatier ‘19, Sarah Peterson ‘18, and Taylor Saunders ‘19, spent their 2017 Spring Break on campus volunteering with Family Promise. Family Promise is a non-profit organization that helps homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response. 2017 is the fourth year that Endicott College has partnered with the North Shore Family Promise branch to provide housing, food, activities and support during the week of Spring Break.
During the week of March 13th, the Interfaith Chapel was converted into a living and sleeping space for three families. During the day, the families spent their time at work or at the Family Promise North Shore Day Center where they applied for jobs, prepped for interviews and/or looked for opportunities. After the Day Center closed, the families headed to Endicott for dinner and activities organized by the student volunteers with support from the Endicott College Community Service Office.
Throughout the week, the nine Endicott student volunteers assisted with planning all activities, coordination of meals and bedding, management of overnight duties, as well as connecting with the families on a personal level over meals and through the activities set up. Some of the activities this year included movie nights, a BBQ by the Endicott Lakes, ice skating at Endicott’s Raymond J. Bourque Ice Arena, as well as arts and crafts such as ‘make your own teddy bear’ and ‘make your own cereal bowl.’
Having the same students work with the families all week provides a sense of consistency and stability for the families and allows them to create a bond. While Endicott provides these families with a safe environment for one week each year, the families provide an eye-opening look at what homelessness can look like for students. During the week, misconceptions are thrown out and students are able to get outside their comfort zone and see that homelessness is something that can happen to anyone – even those with a college degree.
"Family Promise was the most incredible experience. Being able to give back to families that were experiencing homelessness was the perfect way to spend Spring Break. More people need to understand the reality of homelessness, and I was humbled to learn about it first-hand. It could happen to any of us, no matter how hard we work. Family Promise is such an incredible organization." - Anna Giles ‘19
To learn more about Endicott College’s Community Service Program, visit: http://www.endicott.edu/StudentLife/Community-Service.aspx.