Tuesday, April 1, 2014


When I landed in Boston I called my mom to let her know that I got home safely. She kept asking me what my favorite part of the trip was, but I couldn't find the words to describe it. Now, I thought it could have been the fact that I was running on 20 minutes of sleep, but over a week later and I feel like I am still processing how incredible this experience was.

Whenever I have thought about ASB or Oklahoma over the past week and a half a new memory has come up, each as amazing as the last. Sometimes I think about our culture days in the Wichita Mountains and in Bricktown. Other times I think about our home in the First Christian Church and all of the meetings, games of Catch Phrase, and late night conversations our group shared there. But most often I think about the work site. I think about all of the projects we did, from painting to cleaning to building. I have thought about seeing my new friends conquer their fears of climbing ladders and using power tools. Each of these moments will forever hold a special place in my heart. However, in reflecting on the experience as whole I finally figured out my favorite moment- it happened when we were leaving the work site for the last time. On my way to the vans I stopped to take a picture of house that I had spent the most time working on, and at that moment I thought "Wow. When we started the week this area looked like a construction site, but now it looked like a home." At that moment I could picture someone living there and it was incredible to think that we had a part in that. That moment made every bump and bruise worth it, and it just reaffirmed how much of an impact that service has. We helped build that house and that left a mark on Oklahoma, but these memories are Oklahoma's mark on me. Service makes you value things more and it gives you a better understanding of the world around you. The people I met and the things our group accomplished have changed me for the better, and that is something that I will carry with me forever.

Now I can tell my mom and anyone else who asks what my favorite moment was and I can describe even more of the amazing experiences that we had. After this reflection I feel ready to start spreading service at Framingham State with the other ASB members who I am lucky enough to call friends. Get ready Framingham- service is coming your way!

With so much love and gratitude,
Molly Buckley
Class of 2015

Monday, March 31, 2014

I don't care I love it

You've all got something I need in this world full of people, there's one killing me, and if we only die once I want to die with...wow that got deep too fast. But I thought since that was pretty much the anthem of the trip why not begin my blog with some inspiration? The trip is still in my mind all the time and honestly I dreamed about it last night but we weren't in Oklahoma and we were in space....too weird? So I would have to say I have hit a new level of love for this group. On a serious note, coming back from the trip was not as easy as I thought because of all the crazy feelings I was experiencing: sadness, happiness, craziness, loneliness but on a positive note I did not have many withdrawals because I was with some ASBers after the trip almost every day. I am so happy to have met you all especially Russell/Homer. I can say I developed many close friendships throughout this trip which makes me so happy and sad because I am going to miss the seniors so much! Ghika wanted her own unique spot in my blog since I am using her computer and since she is leaving so I am glad we became so close on the trip and will miss you when your at Northeastern being a Huskie instead of Sam the Ram. I have so many words but I just do not know how to express them, can a blue person help me?  I will end on a high note and say thank-you to all of you for just being the best and being such  great people!
Kaylee Brazell 2017

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Journal from the Plane

Just some thoughts I wrote in my journal on the flight from Dallas to Boston! Keep that ASB fire alive, my friends <3

We're on the flight back from Oklahoma now. What a week it's been! It surpassed my expectations in every way. I feel like a proud mama.

This trip just felt so right. It wasn't always easy; in fact, there were times when it was really freaking hard. I cried out of exhaustion, I cried out of frustration, but I also cried out of joy. That's what it is to be a trip leader. You just have so much invested in this project because you care so, so much. You believe in it and its power to change people more than you believe in just about anything else. And you think back to those magic moments on your first trip when your eyes were opened to the many, many human beings on this earth, their hopes and their needs, and how you actually have the power to do something meaningful for them. Those moments when you realize you're not just one in the crowd, but rather a very important link in the chain of humanity. You remember what those moments meant for you and who you've become, and you work your tail off to give that experience to someone else, to another very important link in the chain that's yearning to be strengthened. This week, I witnessed each of our 24 participants realize their connection in this huge chain. And really, there's no better feeling than that.

Each ASB has made me stand back and question my path. After this time, I am so, so glad that I've chosen this one. This is tiring and often thankless work, but there is nothing in this world that I care about more. Humanity is a tricky thing. We often clutter our view with violence, competition, materialism, and separateness. But we have an equal, if not greater potential for making peace, creating hope, and sharing love. This work reminds the world daily of its potential to be beautiful. There's nothing else that I want to commit myself to, because there's nothing else in this world that I believe in more. And really, that's what it's all about. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

ASB 2014 final reflection

As my service as one of the 2014 Alternative Spring Break Trip leaders draws to an end, I want to take a moment and reflect one the entirety of my experience. ASB was the third service trip I have been on, and the first of which I was an organizer.  My decision to apply for the trip leader position stemmed from my experiences on my previous ASB trips. Each spring break I spent emerged in service work showed me how each individual’s actions had an impact on the world. Serving others showed me why I was important relative to the world around me. Once I understood that my actions made a difference, I came to the understanding that it was my responsibility as a citizen to continue taking those actions and serving my community in any capacity I was able. In doing so I felt the full liberation of service, the mutually beneficial relationship in which I became an empowered, educated, and humbled individual only because I was devoting myself to the benefit of others.
            I applied to be a trip leader for ASB 2014 because the individual I am today is a product of service trips. I felt as though being a trip leader was the next step for me to take in my service career; to be one of the people who creates these life altering opportunities for students and to come full circle and give back to a program that has given me so much. I am blessed that I was given the opportunity, an opportunity that stands out as the best experience of my life.
            Brandon, Tori, and I under the advisement of Claire and Angel poured incredible effort into organizing a program that would leave each participant with that unique sense of empowerment, education, and humility that only service can foster. It was a both a stressful and exciting period of my life that called upon me to think in ways I never have, face challenges I could have never have seen coming, and to be a leader to 27 other peers. Nevertheless I can say with no hesitation that it was the most gratifying experience I have ever had.
            By the end of the trip I could see growth in ever-single ASB participant. I could hear in their reflections of the workdays that they were considering their place in the world differently than they had before, that understood how they were working with and for the good of their neighbors, and that their work, no matter how small, matters. Above all else however, was their understanding that it doesn’t end when the trip does.
ASB trips are to take participants outside of themselves, show them that they can make an impact, and then challenge them to perpetuate that work in their everyday lives. Though it is always hard to return to the “real world” these trips don’t really have meaning unless we take away something of value from it  and return home to apply it.
I am honored to call myself a peer to the ASB 2014 participants because they truly are some of my generation’s finest citizens.  Serving as a trip leader has provided me with unquantifiable amounts of self growth both as a leader and as an individual.  Once again, I leave an ASB trip rejuvenated and confident that as long as my motivations are founded on the good of my community, only positive things can come. Thus, I am ready to enter back into the "real world" and continue applying my newly found strengthens as a means to positively impact my community. 
I have nothing but thanks to everyone and anyone who has supported me in this process.  It is because of the support of my fellow trip leaders, friends, family, advisors, and community that I have been so blessed with the opportunity to have such an amazing experience. 

Sincerely, Amy Jones class of 2016

Saturday, March 22, 2014

ASB: Lifestyle, Service, Selflessness

Wow. This week has flown by so quickly and I can't believe that we'll be flying home tomorrow morning (technically today). This week was strange in so many ways: it was a week to shatter the comfort zone I had created for so many years. It was a week to truly understand what service was. It was a week to truly learn the multiple personalities, gifts and talents every person in this group brings to the table. Finally, it was a week to make a difference, create a legacy, have moments of self-discovery and create community to not only the group, but also those we met along the way. The nightly meetings covered self perception, connections, life in general and impact. We as a group have created a deeper impact than I think many of us believed could be possible. Some of us learned so many new things throughout the week about ourselves and what it truly takes to build a house from the foundation up. These service projects are so important for so many reasons: however, they help to promote community. We created a community of role models and leaders within our own group, yet we also built relationships with the people we worked with on the site and the people we met throughout the week. We've built connections with people from different parts of the country and these projects remind us that there are people who would have done the same thing for us if anything ever happened, such as the tornadoes that wreaked havoc in Moore last year. Service can happen in so many different ways. We covered such a small aspect through the construction of the house and the repairs on Victoria and Efrain's house on the service spectrum. Service is giving one's time to help better the lives of others and not expect anything in return. It is about putting in time and effort to put a smile on the face of the worker next to you and the people who are affected, to create the feeling of community and unite the world one person at a time through various means. It doesn't require a grand gesture or money. It requires personality, a positive attitude and a willingness to achieve something greater than oneself. This trip opens one's eyes to the difference a single nail or board makes in creating a house into a home. The trip has opened my eyes to the natural beauty Oklahoma brings to the United States and how browns can create true beauty through simplistic nature. It is now time to bring what we've learned home to the community of Framingham and put it into actions and words in any way we can. I can't wait to see what this group can and will still accomplish after we land in Logan!

Daniel Larrivee
Class of 2017

Thank you

This week has been  one of the most memorable  weeks I have ever had.  I got to put on weather  proof  styrofoam insulation wrap around a house and I also for the first time used a nail gun and painted a house that will become a home for a wonderful family.  I got to participate in activities, I also met new and awesome people I other wise never would have communicated with at school. i got to push myself  and did things that I thought I would never  be able to accomplish and alone the way i made great connections my experience here in Oklahoma and with ASB is one I will alway cherish. Thanks everyone. Best wishes to all the ASB participants. 

Korpo Hiamah 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Let's Build Something Together

So as many people know, I have been feeling pretty low lately, bogged down with health problems and daily stresses. There have been multiple points in which I have been worried about my ability to contribute or even attend this trip. But being on it has been such a rejuvenating experience for me. On the worksite I finally feel like myself. It's been two months since I have felt the energy to throw myself into the things I love and being here and with these people has been such a mood lifter for me. I have more to focus on than my own health issues and personal problems. I was encouraged a lot to stay home but I really thing that there isn't a better place for me to be except right here. Sitting on my couch may have rested my body but it never would have inspired my soul like spending time with these amazing people, encouraging people and doing the incredible work that we are doing. I am feel like I can do anything right now. At the end of the day, my body is so drained that I think to myself "How am I going to get myself up those stairs" and then I remember I'm building a fucking house right now. Nothing can stop me.

Ali McGrath


Monday, March 17, 2014

Kaylee Brazell 2017

Hey ASBers! Its Monday the third day of the trip! I am having so much fun and am making great friendships. I think you all are amazing! I started writing my journal on the plane, so I thought I would tell you about my first highlights of the trip. "The airport was fun because of the quoting of Bridesmaids and creating fake conversations with strangers walking by....We are experiencing a little turbulence and by a little I mean scary hand holding with Elizabeth." The quote of the day for that day was when Elizabeth asked for my Fiber One bar and said "It says a Fiber One for a Reason, do not eat two it will not end well." I also journaled about church on Sunday which was awesome because they sang all songs I knew which is strange because my family rarely goes to church. It reminded me of the great times with my sister at church. I cannot wait to start working and make some more ASB memories.

Too Much

Wow. It amazes me that we've only been here for two days. I feel like we've accomplished so much and we haven't even started building yet. It's so cool how we're all so eager to work that everyone is constantly offering to help and do things for people.

Any who, I've felt especially inspired the past 24 hours and I'm not so good with the stereotypical journaling concept, but rather the "word vomit" strategy. Just a warning, this is a work in progress. And to remind anyone who reads this later on, we went to the Bombing Museum today and it was... well it was too much at some points, but it was worth it.
*trigger warning*

Too Much

You're going about your routine day, when
not 3 hours in and a blast that knocks you down
comes from nowhere. And
all you can do is scream and run and try your hardest
to not make eye contact with
the lifeless surrounding you;
a growing population you do not want to join.
But maybe you make it outside and
maybe there is a breeze you did not believe
would hit your skin again and
for a moment there is relief.
But then there are more yells
and pain emanates the atmosphere.
There were jobs and daycares and
children and parents and
you are still breathing, but part of you did not survive.
It is dead with your coworkers who 
never made it off the 5th floor,
dead with the strangers only there for a meeting,
and dead with the babies who parents 
were in too much of a hurry to hug them goodbye.
It is gone and buried in the rubble and you will not find it with a pulse.
It may be recovered someday, but
you will have to wait 41 days to find out if it is yours.

Kimmi Awiszio
Class of 2015

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Sudden Invitation

I came onto Alternative Spring Break as a very last minute addition to the team. It was all incredibly bittersweet, because my oncoming signified the unfortunate circumstance that another deserving person was unable to attend this thought-provoking trip. Although it is only day two, I have tried incredibly hard thus far to form bonds with those I do not know and to make my presence count. I'm no Kendall Valente, but I can sure as heck try my hardest to make those around me feel comfortable and valued as an ASB member, and more importantly, as a person.

There is no doubt that bonding while performing service is an astounding thing. Doing what you love, loving what you do, and doing it all with those you can call your friends sounds like a dream come true. However, I am also cognizant that these bonds do not define the trip we are taking. The bonds serve as a guide, a sense of comfort. The true definition of our trip is the work we are doing, and what we take away from our work. If we look back at this trip and think of only the memories we made with ASB members, what have we really accomplished? Sure, we made new friends, but what about the act of serving? We all have different takeaways in situations, but overall the crux of our ASB trip is to give back to others and to show the world that there is a helping hand present where one may least expect it.

We all aim to make connections and form meaningful and lasting bonds. This will (no doubt) continue once we return from Oklahoma and resume our "normal" lives. For now, let us pick up that hammer, rake, shovel, or paintbrush. I know while I am here the takeaway every day won't be "Who did I hang out with today?", but rather "What sort of positive impact did I make on others' lives today?".

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has" 
-Margaret Mead 

-Kevin Long
Class of 2014 

Day Dos

Day two in the the state that looks like a pointing finger. I cannot believe how nice the people here are. The worker at Subway yesterday was incredible, if we were in Mass she would have not had a smile on her face by the end of our line. The Reverend at the church service was also so welcoming. He called out the small group of us that was there and thanked us, I did not expect that to happen at all. We haven't done any service days yet but I can already see this group bonding and becoming closer and closer. I do miss Kendall though, I know how much she would of enjoyed everything that we are doing. I cannot wait to see what the nature reserve has in store for this crazy bunch.

Hoping everyone can get a good nights rest,
Caitlin Murray 2016

Day 2 in OK

Today is the second day in Oklahoma and it feels like we have been here for so long! Even after one day I feel like I know everyone so much more than I did before we left. Playing catch phase has been a highlight! I am so excited to go hiking tomorrow!
Lauren Spina 2016
We finally made it to Oklahoma!! It seems so crazy that one month ago we were at bake sales and dodgeball tournaments and country shows preparing and now we're finally here! Yesterday morning I was so excited and once we landed it was so interesting to see the differences between Oklahoma and Massachusetts. You can see the skyline and the ground for miles and miles, its very different but I think its beautiful in it's own unique way. I can't wait to start working and learn more about Habitat for Humanity and to see what the week brings. It's been less than 24 hours but I'm already having a great time!
-Emily Allard

We Made It!! :)

I am so excited that we are finally here! I cannot wait to actually get started with Habitat on Tuesday. I already feel like we are becoming a small family just within this last day. I cannot wait to get even closer as a group and start to make a difference together. Other than that, from what I've seen already in Oklahoma the people are so much nicer than home, they really go out of their way to ask how you're doing and really want to know. I have also noticed the beautiful horizon here that we don't get to see at home so definitely take the time to appreciate the differences we don't have readily available at home. You all are some of the most amazing and passionate people I have ever met and I am so thankful to be here, finally! :)

- Samantha Englehart, Class of 2014

Day 2 In Oklahoma !!!!

I am incredibly happy to have been given the opportunity (again) to be on Alternative Spring Break trip. When I received the call that I would be going to Oklahoma, I couldn't help but cry. I had gone on the trip to Mississippi last spring break, so I was not sure if I would be given the same opportunity again-and I wanted to go so badly, since I am a super senior-so thank goodness I am here!

It is only Day 2, and already we are one big family. It amazes me how so many different personalities who are a part of so many different clubs, organizations, and even athletic teams on campus, all share this common bond to help others.

It really makes me feel so happy and lucky to be with 30 new ASB participants, (some alum) to help with storm relief with habitat. I know that this trip is going to teach me so much, and I am beyond excited to jump in and get my hands dirty.

Relaxing and becoming even closer to my asb fam will definitely make this work week even better-having close ties with all these incredible people is something that I will forever cherish.

Melissa Skerry
Class of 2013

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Love the Shit, Too

The week before ASB is always so exciting. There's so much anticipation, so much excitement, and so much to do! I think sometimes as a trip leader, and as a participant, it's so easy to get caught up in the details- what to do, what to bring, who to call, etc. But when I slow down for a minute, the gravity of what ASB is all about starts to sink in.

My mantra over the past few weeks has been "love the shit, too." All of the stress of coordinating this trip can be tough, but it's important to love the hard parts, too. The hard parts mold us; they make us stronger. The hard parts make us ask, "Is this even worth it?" and when the answer is "yes," (which, for me, it always is when it comes to ASB) it shows us who we are, what's important to us, and what we believe in. Seeing 24 students leave their comfort zone, forget their own needs, and be so motivated by gratitude for their own lives that they dedicate a week to bettering the lives of strangers- that is what's important to me. And when I see that the service doesn't stop at a week, that our participants continue to give for the rest of their lives- that is what I believe in.

ASB is an example of humanity at it's finest. It makes me happy to be alive, and it makes me proud to be human. So, if that means that I lose a few nights of sleep to help make it happen, it's a price I am so, so willing to pay <3

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Hi all!

I had so much fun yesterday at our last meeting before we go to Oklahoma! I got to know everyone so much better, and I am so thankful none of us got eaten by those piranhas! I really enjoyed the last activity we did where we all got to read a part of everyone's applications. That was really special, and I think reminded us all of why we are going on this trip, it warmed my heart a little bit!

I cannot believe that in just one week we will all be together in Oklahoma... this is crazy! I am so so excited, but starting to get a little nervous too! I am especially nervous for such hard labor since this is something I have never done before. I am really looking forward to challenging myself, but it's scaring me at the same time!

I hope everyone enjoys their last week of classes before we leave! Good luck on the papers/exams some of you might have this week.

-Sam Ghika
Class of 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hi All, 

I went to the dentist on Saturday morning, and coincidentally, I learned that my dentist was born and spent his early childhood in Oklahoma! Although I could not speak back, because he was looking at my mouth (LOL), he was sharing with me how special of a place Oklahoma is and during this, I could see on his face how much it meant to him to hear that a group of local college students were dedicating their spring break for the people of Oklahoma. After my visit, he gave me a warm hug, thanked me, and told me to thank all of my friends who would be joining me along this journey. So, from my dentist in Rhode Island to you all, THANK YOU!

I found this exchange extremely heartwarming for not only could I see how much this news made him happy and proud, but this experience also taught me to remember how many people we are impacting with our work. You never know how many people (even across the country) you are impacting by doing an act of service. 

A week and a half!

Love Y'all. 

Casey Tidwell, '14

Friday, February 21, 2014

It's crazy to think that in less than one month we will all be in Oklahoma. I know that personally I am really excited to help the families who were effected by the tornado. I never really knew much about tornados, I really only heard about them through the Wizard of Oz. I just can't wait to learn when I'm there, I want to learn more about the west. I don't know much about any of the states that are not o the east cost. Im getting more and more excited as the days dwindle.

-Caitlin Murray 2016

Friday, February 14, 2014

We are laving one month from tomorrow…. WHAT!? I cannot believe that it’s already so close!! I am so excited for the experience that we as a team are about to have; I don’t even think I’m mentally ready for it. Over the past few months preparing for this I’ve known it was eventually coming…. but now its only a month away!! I cannot wait to get down there and start working, and getting to know this team even better!

Kendall Valente
Class of 2015

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is hanging in there with school work, and I hope the seniors are enjoying their last semester just as much as I am! It is starting to settle in that I will be leaving in just a few short months - sad!

I think us ASB members are starting to finally to form as a group. To be honest, I was not super comfortable last semester since I didn't know everyone, and it was just an odd adjustment for me. However, I told myself to return back to ASB after Winter Break with a more positive attitude and an open mind, and it's working! Although I do not know every single member of ASB as much as I had hoped to by now, I am trying to get to know everyone as best I can, and I hope that other members try to do that as well. It is so great to see some of the members step up and suggest we go to dinner or lunch or something; I think it shows how much we want to interact with one another besides Friday's from 4-5 pm!

Also, while I have a chance, I think I can speak for all the ASB members when we say how much we appreciate the trip leaders. Amy, Brandon and Tori do so much for the group and I am sure there is so much behind the scenes action that we have no idea about. Stay awesome you three, and thanks for everything!

If I counted correctly, only 35 days until we leave?! This is so crazy...

-Sam Ghika
Class of 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hi Everyone!
     This semester is getting crazy with everything piling up! It is awesome to have ASB to look forward at the weeks end and for spring break. It is so nice to be part of this team and I feel so lucky to be meeting all these wonderful people.
      Also, so we can all look back on it and smile... Yesterday a few of the lovely members of ASB were auctioned off for Flavor of Love!
     I just looked at the clock and we have a meeting in five minutes so I hope this was an acceptable blog because I really do not know what I am suppose to be writing :)


Hey Guys!

I hope everyone is having an AMAZING semester! I cannot believe we are about a month away from Oklahoma, its crazy! It has been so great getting to know everyone and you all are such amazing and influential people and I am so grateful to have meet you guys!!!

Jaime :)


It hard to believe were just one month away from our trip these past few months has really flew by. selling here at the table getting so excite about the few bucks were getting knowing its all going to a great cause. I feel like we all have come so far with all these events and bonding moments. I have to say I've gotten to know all of you on different levels and i appricate every single person in this group. I am supper excite for our trip again i cant believe its only one month away. Going to class now enjoy your day everyone.

Hey ASBers! I am not the best blogger so bear with me. I hope everyone’s semester is going well and that you are all so excited for Oklahoma. It is so weird to think how close we are to the trip. I have had so much fun with all of our team bonding and I hope to have more. As I type this I am selling chocolate with Dan, Rushell, and Amy. It is a little slow but I think our hats are making a nice statement. I cannot wait for the meeting and Happy Friday! Have a great day guys!

Kaylee Brazell


5 Weeks!

Coming back to this semester has been a whirlwind for me. I am in all upper level courses now that I'm done with my gen eds, and am working on my Research Thesis in Psychology. Because of this, I forgot how close Spring Break is from us! It wasn't until last night at the Flavor of Love event did I realize. Sam Ghika's fun fact was that she was leaving for Oklahoma in just 5 weeks! It is unbelievable. All the work we have put in for this semester is soon coming to a close and soon we will actually be there! I am so excited to work with this great group of people and get to know everyone even better. Ice breakers are great but real team bonding happens with a tool in your hand and sweat in your eyes. So if you feel like you haven't made a connection yet with the group, don't worry, within our week together we'll feel like family, growing through the experience of helping others. I can't wait!!!!

Ali McGrath

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hi All!

I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the icebreaker we did in small groups at our meeting yesterday.

Coming into this experience, I knew many of you, but did not know you on a personal level. Although the activity yesterday was relatively short, I thought it was so interesting to hear everyone share a personal story about an experience in their life. I think it is truly amazing how we can all come from different backgrounds, yet we can all come together and bond over service. It is great to see how everyone brings different experiences, stories, and goals to our team and I think that diversity will make our experience together all the more positive.

-Casey Tidwell
Class of 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 18, 2014

Hello Everyone,
I just wanted to let you all know how excited I am to be going on this trip with all of you and having this great opportunity to make a difference. I am also super excited to meet all of you and get to know you all!! Honestly, I'm a little nervous to meet you all for the first time at our next meeting :), which will be my first ever meeting. I wish I had been part of the journey from the get go but I am beyond thankful to be a part of it now. I have caught up on all of the readings you guys have done thus far and I've read through some of your blog postings and I cannot wait to get started, although I had some pretty intense emotions reading through all of the material about tornadoes and their impact specifically on Oklahoma.
You all seem to be so committed and I cannot wait to meet you all! :)
- Sam Englehart
Class of 2014