Gannon University’s Center for Social Concerns provided an alternative summer break to Washington, D.C. for eight students from May 12 through 18. The students were led by Jessie Badach Hubert, Center for Social Concerns Assistant Director; and two student leaders: Amanda Schmiedl (Class of 2013) and Jared Schaaf. Student participants, Justine Bensur, David McCartney, Mackenzie McGahan, Madeline Pelc, Victoria Quagliana and Annie Sadowski spent their week volunteering their time at the Fr. McKenna Center, a homeless shelter for men.

The service trip educated the students on the root causes of homelessness, how to assist those whom are homeless, as well as taught each student how to perform charity work while seeking social justice.

The students were housed at Fr. McKenna Center as well, which allowed them to experience the daily routine of the men whom are dependent on the center. The students visited with the men at the drop-in center, and helped prepare and serve the meals throughout the day.

Extending their service, the students volunteered at Food & Friends preparing meals, and also spent time at the National Coalition for the Homeless. The volunteers participated in a Speakers’ Bureau panel presentation, an advocacy workshop and an outreach run during their time at the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Throughout the extent of the alternative break service trip, the students and their leaders contributed direct service to the men at the homeless shelter, heard several educational presentations, and had the opportunity to meet with House Representative Mike Kelly.