Quick Contact

Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service-Learning

Eckerd College
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

porterrk@eckerd.edu

toll-free: (800) 456-9009
local: (727) 864-7512

Service-Learning

Service Learning

Puerto Rico: Spring Break 05

One of the 2005 Spring Break Teams didn't go to do service. The Puerto Rico Pilgrimage team went to become part of a serving community. The 12 team members were welcomed into a community of Christians from a number of churches throughout San Juan. While team members did not have to be Christian, we were aware that we would live and work in solidarity with people for whom the Christian faith is a guiding principle. People of the local community - they became our friends - were with us most of the time - eating, working, helping us to discover the beauties of their amazing island. Some of our service was expressly church related, by permission of our group. We handed out flyers about Holy Week services, cleaned and painted in a church in a "humble" neighborhood, attended services and even assisted with a foot washing ritual. Our other work included handing out water and assisting with finishers at a 5K run fundraiser for El Hospital del Ninos. Later in the week we spent time in the hospital - actually the children's home - playing and visiting with them, all of whom were born with severe emotional or physical disabilities and most of whom had been abandoned by their parents. At a retirement home, we cleaned, visited with residents and prepared and ate a meal with them. We served meals to the homeless in a park. All of these service efforts were done with our Puerto Rican friends, who themselves are regular volunteers at these sites.

Our friends were unanimously proud of their island and were delighted to take us to El Junque - the only rain forest on US soil (PR is a US territory) - where we hiked and played in a freezing waterfall; to the bioluminescent bay, where we swam under the stars in glowing water - one of only a handful of such locations in the world; to Old San Juan, the original city of the Island whose still-intact forts, El Morro and San Cristobal, are World Heritage Sites; and to the hot spots for dancing and places with the best Puerto Rican food!

Four days after our return, a St. Pete Times' article reported that Puerto Ricans are the happiest people in the world, according to a new study. The reasons - "emphasis on extended family, an easy warmth among even strangers and a readiness to celebrate anything, anywhere, at any time" - were all things with which we could identify. The great thing was that while we were among these "happiest" people, we were happy, too.

Mona Bagasao
Chaplain/Director of Campus Ministries

Reflective Service-Learning Portfolio

Triton Track

Current Calls to Action

Edible Peace Patch Project
Looking for something fun to do this summer? The Muscular Dystrophy Association is looking for volunteers for their summer camps! The camps will take place in Brandon, FL, June 21-27, and in Apopka, FL, July 12-18.
Interested? Contact Paula Orandash for more info at (727) 577-1700.
AIDS Walk Tampa Bay 2014
What are you and your friends doing to change the course of HIV in the Tampa Bay Region? By walking, donating or volunteering this year, you will help to provide much needed resouces to the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP).
The 12th annual AIDS Walk Tampa Bay will be held at Vinoy Park in Downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday, September 6th. Registration starts at 8 a.m., and the walk starts at 10 a.m.

Notes from the Field

Servant Leaders blog
Service-Learning Interns blog
The service-learning student interns are increasing service involvement at Eckerd, becoming successful service leaders and helping students create a community around the values and challenges of servant-leadership.

Service Learning Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Read individual profiles of how involvement with Eckerd Service-Learning changed the lives of current students and alumni.  Learn more.