More than 30 students and eight faculty/staff members at Sullivan Foundation partner school Bellarmine University dedicated their spring breaks to volunteering and engaging with four communities across Louisville, Ky. and the surrounding region.

As part of Bellarmine’s annual Alternative Spring Break program, each trip was designed to encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of social issues and a personal sense of social responsibility.

Bellarmine announced the creation of its Center for Community Engagement in 2021. The center now facilitates the Alternative Spring Break program.

Students spent their spring breaks focusing on specific issues in the following locations:

  • Huntington, West Virginia—Food Access: Students, faculty and staff worked with Huntington City Mission and Facing Hunger, a food bank, to support a food warehouse and mobile food distribution service in the area.
  • David, Kentucky—Education Access: Students and faculty visited the David School, an educational program for Appalachian high school dropouts and at-risk youth, to help students in their daily studies and support a renovation project on the main campus.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana—Healthcare Access: A group of students and staff members supported the Center of Wellness for Urban Women and the Diabetes Impact Project.

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The program in Louisville focused on Social Justice and Race Relations. The group spent the week working with community partners such as AMPED, Louisville Urban League, Russell: A Place of Promise and St. George’s Scholar Institute.

Prince Mugabo, a philosophy major in Bellarmine’s pre-med program, was busy one Thursday afternoon filling bags of rice for families served by La Casita Center, a Louisville nonprofit that enhances the wellbeing of the local Latinx community. “I want to be a helping hand, part of the solution, not just sitting on the sidelines,” he said.

Breanna Dukes, a freshman nursing major, said she enjoyed learning about the community partners and the projects they were working on. “I thought this was a good opportunity to feel more connected to my city,” she said.

This story has been edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Bellarmine University website.

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