Tori Kaleycik (left) and Zachary Lowe (right)

Making a Difference in the World

Marywood University students who want to make a difference in their community and in the world while enjoying time off from school can take part in various Alternative Spring Break Service Trips. For Tori Kaleycik, Bethlehem, Pa., junior Nutrition and Dietetics major, and Zachary Lowe, Johnstown, Pa., fifth-year Communication Sciences and Disorders major at Marywood University, the motivation to help others far outweighs all other spring break options.

Ms. Kaleycik will travel to Philadelphia, Pa., from Saturday, March 10, through Saturday, March 17, 2018. In Philadelphia, she will work at the Sarnelli House, Kensington, Pa., through the Blessed Sarnelli Community, whose mission is to serve people who are poor and abandoned with the help of young adult volunteers. The ministry began there more than ten years ago as a ministry of the Redemptorist community of priests and brothers. As part of the service, Ms. Kaleycik will assist with the preparation and serving of meals, as well as sorting and distributing clothing and being present to those who are being served.

Mr. Lowe will travel to Montego Bay, Jamaica from Saturday, March 10 through Saturday, March 17, 2018, through the Mustard Seed Communities, which is home to more than 40 children and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities such as Autism, Downs Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. Participants engage the residents in activities, play, and assist with building relationships. The group will also visit and work at Jacob’s Ladder, a residence for 400 adults, where they will work on a project on their sustainable farm.

Service to others began for both Ms. Kaleycik and Mr. Lowe while they attended high school, as both students were members of groups that had service elements. Service became something that both Tori and Zackary became passionate about and wanted to continue throughout their college experience.

Ms. Kaleycik said, “If I’m able to take stress off of people and bring a smile to their faces, then I feel as if I’ve made a difference in the lives of others.” Finding that serving others reminds her of how grateful and blessed she is, and how grateful the recipients are as well, she said, “I think it’s equally satisfying for those that give of themselves and the recipients of the assistance, as we each touch each other’s lives.”

Mr. Lowe said, “When I was researching colleges, I was looking for a university that was known for their community outreach and benefit to society, so Marywood was a draw for me.” He continued, “When you perform service you learn life lessons, humility, and gratitude—everyday things that we take for granted, such as clean water and plumbing—it opens your eyes to being appreciative for every resource we have.”

Both Ms. Kaleycik and Mr. Lowe are experienced at the Alternative Service Break Program at Marywood, as each has been a member and served others on previous service trips. Ms. Kaleycik was a member of the Killeen Texas Alternative Service Trip in 2016, where she worked in a food pantry giving out canned goods to customers, and she worked at a Boys and Girls Club assisting participants with homework, crafts, and games. Mr. Lowe attended the San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, Medical Mission Alternative Service trip in 2017, where volunteers engaged in direct clinical and health education experiences and gained exposure to the social factors of health and the provisions of medical care in a resource-poor area of the world.

While Ms. Kaleycik and Mr. Lowe have sought different academic programs, both students are anticipating using their degrees to further benefit other people. Ms. Kaleycik is a Nutrition and Dietetics major who was always drawn to teaching and eating healthy. She said, “I hope to use my degree to empower people through community nutrition education. My goal is to work in an elementary school and teach children about nutrition.”

Mr. Lowe is in his final year of the five-year Communication Sciences and Disorders program, where he works with clients that range in age from pre-school to school-age children. “Working with children has been a great experience and has reinforced that I chose the right major and career path,” he said. “One of my clients has helped me prepare for the Alternative Break Service Trip by letting me know how the device he uses to help him speak, laugh, and reach out, can assist me on my trip,” he continued.

During her time at Marywood, Ms. Kaleycik has been involved with numerous clubs, including: president of the Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Club; chair of Alpha Sigma Psi, a group of young ladies who created a sorority based on service for future generations; student supervisor for the University’s Phonathon; and public relations chair for the Honors Program Club.

Mr. Lowe is a graduate assistant for the Physician Assistant program, a resident assistant, and served as the vice president for the Speech and Hearing Club. He is involved with Volunteers in Action; Campus Ministry, and Holy Family Residence, and he has served as a Big Friends/Little Friends volunteer.