Every week, members and partners of the Michigan Active Citizens Alternative Spring Break (MAC-ASB) community will share their stories through our blog, which is a series of narratives inspired by the experiences, memories, and meanings made and shared through ASB trips. This week, we bring an experience from Lead Team member and former site leader, Marianne Khouri.
Around this time of year, we start to realize how little time we have left until spring break. Planning for MAC-ASB trips begins in April and now there are only 6 weeks left until trips depart for their spring break destinations! Meetings become more frequent, fundraising deadlines creep up, and logistics are finalized. At this time last year, I started to become overwhelmed. How many boxes of pasta would be enough to feed 14 people? How do we entertain ourselves for a 12 hour car ride to Atlanta, Georgia? I was so lost in the little details that I forgot why I signed up for MAC-ASB. So, I dedicate this post to January 2016 Marianne and anyone else that needs a reminder of why.
Dear January 2016 Marianne,
I know that you are currently stressed out, but I advise you to take a few deep breaths and give yourself a moment to reflect on your time with MAC-ASB.
You signed up for Alternative Spring Break freshman year because you looked away from your phone long enough to read the advertisement for ASB that was posted near your dorm and found it interesting. You wanted to help people but had no idea what that meant or how to do it ethically. You vaguely remembered reading something about social justice but ignored it, you didn’t understand what it meant. You applied and were accepted- yay!- but the email said that you were going to Detroit, Michigan. Wasn’t spring break supposed to be in a warm location?
You went to Detroit for a week and shattered many of your stereotypes about it. You learned about ethical service, the art of reflection, and the meaning of that phrase that you overlooked before, social justice. You were intrigued and applied to be a site leader to learn more about it. While service brought you to this organization, social justice made you stay.
Becoming a site leader taught you about many types of social justice issues and led you to one that had a personal connection: immigrant and refugee rights. You were also introduced to a community of people who had extremely diverse backgrounds but all shared a passion for social justice.
In the future, you will become a member of the Finance and Fundraising team and you will be surrounded by a beautiful group of people that teaches you and helps you grow every day. You will learn about the importance of community partnerships; there is no way that we can have a program without them. They welcome us into their communities and allow us to learn from them. You will remind yourself that your work does not start and end with spring break. Your path to becoming an active citizen will be a lifelong one, and you will be so grateful that this organization helped you find that path.
Remember this through the next few weeks, and I can assure you that all of this planning will be worth it! You can do it!
January 2017 Marianne