EASTON, Mass. — Area students recently took part in Stonehill College’s annual H.O.P.E. Alternative Spring Break Program over the week of March 9.

Auburn native Emily Dumont traveled to Kentucky.

A member of the Class of 2014, Dumont volunteered with other Stonehill students for the Christian Appalachian Project, an interdenominational, nonprofit Christian organization committed to serving people in need in Appalachia by providing physical, spiritual and emotional support through a wide variety of programs and services.

Norway native Abby Morton traveled to Portland, Ore.

A member of the Class of 2016, Morton volunteered at St. Andre Bessette Catholic Church, where students worked with its hospitality ministry, building community with those who are hungry, homeless, mentally ill, recovering from drug addiction and abuse, or living with intellectual and an developmental disabilities.

Lewiston native Joy Harrington traveled to Wheeling, W.Va.

A member of the Class of 2016, Harrington volunteered at The Appalachian Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University, where students worked on site at its Fresh Air Farms. The students learned about social justice issues ranging from mountain top removal, fracking and addiction which are prevalent in the local community.

Students who participate in the H.O.P.E. program form community with one another during the five months leading up to their trip. They learn about the culture, history and issues of social injustice in the communities they are destined to visit and serve.

The trips themselves are truly immersive experiences, challenging students to engage the four tenets of H.O.P.E.: Honoring our neighbor; Organizing for justice; Practicing peace; and Encountering God.

Upon their return, students are encouraged to reflect on their experiences and to integrate the pursuit of social justice into their day-to-day lives.

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