Helping others leads to ‘most memorable’ spring break

By Dana Sotoodeh

LOGOS Opinion Editor

Another spring break has come and gone and all I am left with is a bad tan line, a physically exhausted body, and a pile of homework I put off until Sunday night.

However, this spring break I am not cursing myself for overdrinking on the beach or making reckless decisions. This spring break I can nestle in my bed on Sunday night and know I made a difference in assisting people from our community who need it most, and that is what makes this spring break the most memorable of them all.

Meet the Mission is an effort sponsored by the University of the Incarnate Word’s Office of Mission and Ministry. The effort focuses on UIW faculty and student volunteers repainting houses of individuals and families in certain parts of San Antonio who lack resources to do so themselves.

This year’s mission was directed by Sister Walter Maher, vice president for Mission and Ministry, and organized by Dr. Chris Edelman, an assistant professor of philosophy, and Dr. Michael Frye, an assistant professor of engineering. Equally as important, Professor Mike Forrest participated and brought with him his large knowledge of painting and home repair expertise. The effort took place March 11-15 and ran from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Our day started off with volunteers meeting in the front of the Administration Building around 8:15 each morning to catch the shuttles provided by UIW to the Frank Garrett Center around 8:30. After arriving, breakfast was generously provided by Mission and  Ministry, along with morning and afternoon prayer and reflections by Father Tom Dymowski. Once departing from the Frank Garrett Center after breakfast we made our way to the site in which we would devote our day.

Once arrived, the team unloaded and the day moved at a brisk pace. From climbing up extremely tall ladders, to standing on the ground covered in paint, the UIW community did it all. Shuttle drivers Linda Gomez and Jesse Rodriguez even took part in painting and scraping parts of the houses in the midst of providing transportation to and from campus. With the help of our volunteers and an additional 20 members from Oak Hills Church participating on Thursday and Friday, March 14-15, the UIW team completed painting six houses within the San Antonio community.

Once our work was over and homeowners were pleased, we headed back to the Garrett Center for a delicious lunch and closing reflection before our trip back to UIW. Lunches were provided on a daily basis thanks to the Rosenberg School of Optometry, School of Physical Therapy, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering, HEB School of Business and Administration; and College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Although I found myself exhausted at the end of each workday I also felt relieved. As I returned to my home each evening I took a closer look at it and took the time to appreciate the blessings I am surrounded with on a daily basis.

There is one thing about spring break that people must realize. It goes beyond the excessive partying and overpriced concert tickets. It goes beyond the trips to South Padre Island or Panama City Beach. No amount of partying can give you the fulfillment you receive from joining a community and bettering someone else’s life in the smallest way. Helping others is a feeling that the vacation of your dreams can’t even fulfill. Helping others IS living the dream.

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