Giving back starts at home. This year, 14 La Salle alumni came together to do what Explorers do best for the very first La Salle Alumni volunteer trip.
Organized by Maggie Garin, ’17, in conjunction with the Alumni Relations office, the cohort of alumni joined together to make a difference. “Throughout college, we were constantly called to live out our Lasallian values so I truly feel that work needs to continue into post-graduate life,” Garin said. Rather than serving on her own, Garin chose to use the opportunity to reconnect with fellow classmates and galvanize them to remember their Lasallian roots.
With the help of the staff of alumni relations, Garin successfully recruited alums who were ready to get to work. From September 26-30, the group traveled to Sussex County, Del., to help build homes with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. In exchange, they received free lodging in the basement of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, which led for some lifelong memories, laughs, and quite a few ghost stories.
Thursday morning was the first of three full workdays for the cohort. Alongside the La Salle volunteers on the worksite was a Habitat for Humanity staff including three site supervisors, two volunteer coordinators, and an AmeriCorps VISTA. With the help of the Habitat team, the volunteers installed nearly all of the siding of a home. On Saturday, they assisted in putting the finishing touches on a different home that was scheduled to be completed in the following week. Tasks included painting, landscaping, caulking, and removing the last items of equipment from the site.
Sunday offered time for the participants to reflect on their experience as they prepared to go their separate ways and head home. “To me, being Lasallian is all about connection: to self and to others,” Garin said. “This experience was so influential because we took time to disconnect from work, our phones, and other commitments and really connect to one another, the community, and the concept of social justice.”
Elise Corbett, ’17, mirrored Garin’s sentiments. “This experience was so unique,” she said. “For a span of four days, we were able to be fully immersed in a Lasallian community again. And no matter one’s graduation year, no one ever felt like a stranger because we were all ‘La Salle.'”
It is the hope of Maggie, Alumni Relations, and the entire La Salle community that this trip will continue to evolve and expand in the future. “My plan, with the support of the University, is to have multiple alumni trips organized throughout the year and really work on alumni engagement and commitment to La Salle through service.”
Though some of the participants never attended a service trip as students, their affiliation to the University allowed them to give back as graduates. No matter how far these Explorers have traveled, they were all able to find their way back home to work together in service of others. Efforts like these solidify the importance of La Salle’s mission and serve as a reminder of what sets us apart as Explorers.