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    Service Comes In All Shapes And Sizes: A Personal Reflection

    April 3, 2019
    By: Brianna Tucciarone '20
    “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”- Marian Wright Edelman

    When I first walked in to a Campus Ministries' Center for Service and Social Justice Info session, I never imagined the transformation I would experience from participating in a Spring Break Domestic Outreach Trip. Every school year, the Center for Service and Social Justice hosts a variety of service opportunities close to campus or within another country for Scranton students, staff and faculty. A popular option within this program is the Domestic Outreach Service Trip, a week-long opportunity to serve various locations across the United States over the University’s Spring Break. I had heard universally positive reviews of the program, which lead me to apply and interview for an opportunity. Once that process was successfully completed, I was chosen to work with the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) in Kentucky. CAP is an organization that focuses on “improving the lives of Appalachian children, families and seniors who are struggling to escape poverty.” The team from Scranton went down to assist CAP with their disaster relief and home repair projects throughout Floyd County, Kentucky, and the surrounding area.

    Energy was bouncing off the walls of our passenger van as we drove down on a sunny Saturday morning. A group of 11 relative strangers became a family in 10 short hours as we entered Kentucky with hearts and hands ready to serve. Upon our arrival, we were introduced to the other colleges who would be participating with us for the week and began making new friends instantly. There is a special relationship found among people with hearts so open to serving those in need, and a unique bond began to form that very first day among the group. We spent our days rising early to hammer, drill, saw and paint new constructions sites. We interacted with the families whose homes we were repairing and found out, more often than not, that we shared more similarities than we had thought we would. Sharing stories and jokes became a favorite pastime among the group during lunch breaks and free time. We would end our days in reflection by a fire, sometimes in song and sometimes in tears, but always in good company as we leaned on each other for encouragement.

    Many lessons were learned throughout my week, but, first and foremost, I discovered that service comes in all shapes and sizes. While the focus of our trip was on building homes for the families we were serving, we quickly discovered that the greatest job we could do was to be a friend to those we were serving by listening to their stories. Those participating in the program with CAP had experienced some of life’s toughest curve balls, but their resilience and determination to make a better future was inspirational. Despite many setbacks, they continued to work hard, raise their families and have faith that God would lead them through their journeys. By the end of our week, we had experienced so many different moments of service, from sharing a meal with someone to putting down flooring in a home destroyed by extreme flooding, that we came to understand the value of service and its many forms. The services done for us were truly remarkable as well as the people we encountered shared what they had to express gratitude or offered to keep us in their prayers. The week allowed me to give myself over completely to something beyond myself and serve a community I may not have ever met. While my time in Kentucky may have been short, the impact it left on my heart will last a lifetime.

    My experience would not have been able to happen without my supportive family, the staff of Campus Ministries' Center for Service and Social Justice, and the amazing people of Christian Appalachian Project in Kentucky. As for my fellow trip mates – Avianna Carilli ’22, Briana Abrams ’20, Caelyn McGowan ’20, Christiana Wood ’21, David J. Kostiak P’22, Emily Foster ’21, Janette M. Scardillo ’05, G’06, DPT ’09, Josh Romero ’22, Megan Maloney ’21 and Veronica Darno ’22 – thank you for bringing so much vibrancy into the world, and thank you for this experience!

    If you are interested in future service trip opportunities with The University of Scranton, please contact the Campus Ministries' Center for Service & Social Justice at www.scranton.edu/volunteers or 570-941-7429.

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