Twenty-two students from Purchase College will be heading to New Orleans during the week of January 9 to work on two service learning projects that will have them rebuilding and remodeling homes and assisting HIV/AIDS patients. The students are part of Purchase Alternative Service Trips (P.A.S.T.), a student-run organization that coordinates quality service experiences for students during the academic breaks.
Working with St. Bernard’s Parish, a non-profit organization in Louisiana, 11 students will have constant interaction with members of communities affected by Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers will be working in groups and assisting with the complete remodeling or rebuilding of homes in various areas. The students will be working on painting, mudding, removing garbage from homes and installing floors.
The second project will be focusing mainly on patients already diagnosed with HIV/AIDS who do not have the resources to buy medications, or whose families cannot care for them any longer. The 11 students will be working with Project Lazarus, an organization that seeks to better the lives of these patients by providing them with shelter, food and financial assistance for medications and health treatments. The purpose of this trip is to educate others regarding the misconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS through service work and the opportunity to spend time with patients and hear their stories.
A total of 100 students have been involved with P.A.S.T. Previous trips have included Disaster Relief in New Orleans, LA (January 2006, March 2006 and January 2007), HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia, PA (March 2006), Environmental Preservation (January 2007) and Hunger & Homelessness (November 2006). Most recently two students and one staff member participated in the BreakAway Alternative Break Citizenship School in June 2007 to enhance the leadership and components of the current service trip program. BreakAway is a national organization whose mission is to train, assist and connect campuses and communities in promoting quality alternative break programs that inspire lifelong active citizenship.