At Transylvania, there are several ways to spend your spring break. You can collapse from exhaustion and hibernate for seven days, you can go home to visit your loving family, you can travel to an exotic location with a few of your friends, or you can catch up on homework like a good student would.
While all of these are viable and attractive ways to spend your spring break, I decided instead to embark on a journey with ten other students for a week filled with service in Chicago, Illinois.
This group of alternative spring breakers had been planning and preparing this trip since last summer. Our destination was a wonderful non-profit organization called Aspire, which supports the developmentally delayed. In preparation for this trip, each participant volunteered with our on campus program called College for Living (like in Brittany’s article!). We also had a retreat in which we worked with a local group home.
However, none of this groundwork could have adequately prepared me for the truly amazing week I had at Aspire. The service we performed and the people we met changed my perceptions and exceeded my expectations, and I only hope that I made a similar impact on somebody’s day.
On two days, we had the opportunity to work directly with the participants at Aspire. Along with this service, Aspire employees also gave us tours of the facilities, tutorials on the latest technologies in communication for that field, and an overview of their mission to provide meaningful experiences for the ones whom they serve.
The other two days, we performed service behind the scenes: we painted walls, deep cleaned therapy rooms, and rearranged a community home. These days provided ample bonding time for our group – I am so grateful to call those ten people good friends now. We shared so many quotable moments, sleep-deprived bouts of laughter, and positive experiences.
Throughout the week, we were also able to explore the city. We saw a magnificent view of Chicago from the Willis Tower, we shopped on the Magnificent Mile, we took hundreds of pictures at the Bean, and we gorged ourselves on deep dish pizza.
I would have never imagined that a service trip would be one of my most fantastic experiences at Transy so far, but it just goes to show that the good people who attend this university truly transcend the Kentucky borders.