Twenty Students to Serve in Mississippi during Spring Break

Maureen Schick, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

While many students head for the beaches or the mountains over spring break, about 20 NDA students will be headed for one of the nation’s highest poverty areas, Canton, Mississippi, on the yearly service trip.

According to Campus Minister Daniel Kriegl, “NDA has been going to Canton for over 15 years, and we have always worked with the same group MadCAAP, which stands for Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty.”

The students and chaperones take vans down to Canton, and while they are there, students help to maintain some low-income housing such as replacing windows, drywall, flooring, etc. Students also build ramps for those with special needs so that they have an easier time getting into their homes.

Senior Corrie Campion, who will be going on the trip for the second time, explained that “Canton is such a special place because of the people we serve there. There is so much need, and even though we only make a small dent in what they need, it’s really cool knowing that you made someone else’s life that much better.”

Mr. Kriegl echoes the idea that the service effort “empowers the students and inspires them to help those less fortunate.” He explains that “it empowers the students by giving them ideas and skills to help others, and it inspires them because they can see how much it can make a difference.”

The trip this year will take place during NDA’s spring break from March 14 until March 20. The cost for the students is $400. Although this may seem like a large amount, the students have an option to sell “Canton Stock,” which are $10 a piece.

Mr. Kriegl explains that the Canton Stock “allows a person to come to our stockholders’ dinner where we serve spaghetti and talk about the service trip and the people we help.”  He went on to demonstrate that, “in theory, a student could sell 40 shares of stock and go for free, and indeed some ambitious students have done this.”

Campion said that last year she “learned that we are all on different journeys in life, and it is our job to listen and do what we can to help those in need.”

Mr. Kriegl explains that for the people there “what helps the most is seeing all these young people who have sacrificed their spring break to help them out. Truly, those we help feel the love that we bring, and they love spending time and talking with the NDA students.”

Looking forward, Campion “is trying to go in with an open mind.”  She said, “ I’m really excited about the group this year and the fact that there are 20 people going instead of 15.”

Her advice to those who are considering or going on the trip in future years would be to “be open to everything. Don’t go in with set expectations. Soak everything up because the week goes by really fast.”

Mr. Kriegl agrees with this, saying, “This is one of the most meaningful and valuable experiences we offer NDA students. You would be crazy to not try and go on this trip. It is an adventure where Faith and Service join hand in hand. You get to grow in both faith and service with your closest friends in a charming Southern town, and you will meet interesting and precious people that will warm your heart.”

His parting words to students:  “Just come and see because whatever I say about this trip will not do it justice.”