HIGH POINT, N.C., March 12, 2015 – First-year participants in High Point University’s Bonner Leader Program are spending their spring break in Washington, D.C., to complete service projects that fight poverty and to learn about democracy in the nation’s capital.
Since they arrived in Washington D.C., the Bonner Leaders packaged meals at Food and Friends, an organization that provides specialized, nutritious meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses. They’ve also met with advocates from the National Coalition for the Homeless and prepared meals with North Street Village, an organization that provides services for homeless and low-income women in Washington, D.C.
The Bonner Leader Program is an organization where students participate in community service every week, each completing over 300 hours of service during the academic year. In addition to consistent service with community partners, the Bonner Leader Program promotes leadership development in students. Bonner Leaders engage peers and others in service through community and on-campus student-designed projects and initiatives.
“These students have spent the past year working in organizations throughout the city of High Point, and this trip is a chance for them to work on service projects in a different geographic region,” says Dr. Jenn Brandt, director of Women’s and Gender Studies and assistant professor of English who is serving as the faculty adviser on the trip. “In addition to their service, the students have met with community residents and service agencies. This has given them an educational context for the work they are doing.”
In addition to their service, the Bonners have participated in daily reflection exercises designed to help them bond as a group and to critically think about the causes and effects of poverty.
“It is amazing being able to see everyone’s leadership styles shine during our service projects,” says Melanie Maldanado, HPU student. “The Bonners are all unique and together we accomplish incredible things.”
The Washington, D.C., alternative break is one of four student service trips that are being taken during HPU’s spring break. Groups of volunteers are also serving in Haiti, Florida and Los Angeles this week.
Alternative Break trips are one of many ways that HPU students, faculty and staff contribute more than 100,000 hours of service locally, nationally and internationally each year.