During the week in Chicago, the group from USD worked with three different agencies examining the cycle of poverty in different age groups, including H.O.M.E., an elderly social services program that provides house maintenance to those who are in need; a Chicago After School Program at Carnegie Elementary; and the Inspiration Café, a social services program for those affected by homelessness or extreme poverty by providing employment training, housing and meals.

While working at H.O.M.E., the group spent a day cleaning a warehouse, and three days winterizing houses and socializing with clients. At Carnegie Elementary, USD students spent four, two-hour sessions with second, third and fourth graders assisting with homework and other projects. The USD group also provided a hearty breakfast at the Inspiration Café while getting an opportunity to meet clients and learn more about the organization.

“The Inspiration Café is such a great concept and it seems to be working,” noted Holly Haddad, D.M.A., adjunct clarinet instructor with the USD music department and faculty adviser during the Chicago trip. “I spoke with several people involved with this organization. It was really interesting to follow the path of the people who went through the program and are now considered success stories.”

Students attending the CAE’s Alternative Winter Break trip included: Megan Borchert, Lisa Marie Cox, Kelly Wilts and Eden Zeleke of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Erin Corner of Hope Mills, N.C.; Angela Helseth of Brandon, S.D.; Jessica Jungers of Granville, Iowa; Meghan Peterson of Burke, S.D.; Kali Sabie of Flandreau, S.D.; Rebecca Schademann of Columbus, Neb.; and Nathan Scheidel of Vermillion.

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