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Planting Seeds of Hope: Gonzaga Students, Staff, & Faculty Embark March 8 to Serve Others During Break

SPOKANE, Wash. – In a rite of spring at Gonzaga University, 116 students, staff and faculty advisers will embark Saturday, March 8 for nine sites nationwide where they will spend their entire spring break serving others through Gonzaga’s Mission: Possible program.

A Gonzaga student plants vegetables in a previous year’s Mission:Possible effort in Tacoma, Wash. Photo by Rajah Bose.

Mission: Possible Helps Nine Communities

SPOKANE, Wash. – In a rite of spring at Gonzaga University, 116 students, staff and faculty advisers will embark Saturday, March 8 for nine sites nationwide where they will spend their entire spring break serving others through Gonzaga’s annual Mission: Possible program.

Mission: Possible, a program started in the late 1990s and sponsored by the University’s Center for Community Action and Service-Learning (CCASL), this year includes 102 students and 12 staff and faculty advisers. At a time when many college students will be relaxing poolside in warmer climates, these freshmen through seniors will travel to the following cities to lend a hand in a variety of projects important to the communities: Browning, Mont.; Denver; Jonestown, Miss.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Tacoma, Wash.; Neah Bay, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and St. Louis.

More than 1,500 Gonzaga alumni have experienced Mission: Possible. Students run the program, raise their own money for the trips, motivate others to become involved, and provide plenty of enthusiasm and inspiration.

Student coordinators include: Andrea Navarre, Steven Pisciotta, Paige Lawrence, Erik Cone, Brenna Holland, Courtney Boyd, Bre Flynn, Matthew Eastman, Ryan Inouye, Kyle Hubbard, and William Wilde. The student volunteers and advisers will work on important community projects, including housing rehabilitation and painting, as well as working at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, community gardens, helping with at-risk youth, and more.

The students have put in long hours since last spring planning and preparing for the trip, which lives out Gonzaga’s Mission Statement that calls for loving service of others. The students raised the money for the effort. For more information, please contact Luisa Gallagher at (509) 313-5543 or via e-mail.

Mission: Possible 2014 Sites

Jonestown, Miss.: Students will help renovate houses – doing painting, repairs, and more. They will also build relationships with local children and the community. Coordinated by Matthew Eastman.

Neah Bay, Wash.: Located in the Northwestern corner of Washington, Neah Bay is renowned for its beauty and history. Situated on the coast where the Makah Tribe have lived since pre-colonial times, the Neah Bay team takes a cultural plunge into life on the Makah Reservation while working in elementary schools and providing residents with service projects. Coordinated by Brenna Holland.

­­­Denver: Students work in the urban center with the African Community Center, which helps refugees from all over the world resettle. Students will work in the local thrift store “Safari Seconds” and tutor and teach English to local immigrants and refugees. Coordinated by Paige Lawrence.

Knoxville, Tenn.: Working with Operation Backyard, students will do everything from painting houses to yardwork. They also will work at the Boys and Girls Club near the church where they will stay. Coordinated by Courtney Boyd.

St. Louis: Students will serve clients at the St. Patrick’s Center downtown. Since 1983, the center has improved the lives of more than 75,000 homeless men, women and children. The center serves as a shelter, soup kitchen, dental clinic, and provides job-placement and job training for the homeless. Coordinated by Bre Flynn and Andrea Navarre.

Tacoma, Wash.: Students will serve the Hill-Top neighborhood – partnering with the Guadalupe House (also known as Tacoma Catholic Worker) doing special projects focusing on homeless outreach. Also, they will work at L’Arche, a community of adults with developmental disabilities. Coordinated by Ryan Inouye.

Browning, Mont.: In this north-central Montana town, students will serve children at the Blackfeet Boarding School and at the “Immersion School” at De La Salle. Coordinated by Kyle Hubbard.

Portland, Ore.: Students will work with nonprofit organizations to address the basic needs of the vast homeless population. Work sites include the Portland Downtown Chapel and the Blanchet House of Hospitality. Coordinated by William Wilde and Steven Pisciotta.

San Francisco: Students will focus on environmental justice issues and work with the parks conservancy at sites overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. They will work at one of the largest farmers’ markets in San Francisco and at local urban farms. Coordinated by Erik Cone.

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