Just How Lucky I Am: Reflecting on my BREAKAWAY Spring Break Service Trip

By: Jack Bronec, Sophomore


Hi! My name is Jack Bronec. I am a sophomore at North Central College studying marketing.  I am on the Men’s Basketball Team and the Vice President of Communication of American Marketing Association. I grew up St. Charles, IL where I live with my mom, dad, grandma, two sisters Margaret and Molly, and my dog named Guinness who is a Boston terrier.

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I first heard about BREAKAWAY from my mom. She said to check it out since I didn’t have plans for spring break and basketball had just ended.  After checking out BREAKAWAY on the website, I was really interested in Habitat for Humanity in Clemson, SC. Our team was made up of leaders, Kaitlin and Brittany and six other students Joy, Laura, Sophie, Noah, Mason, and me.

8In short, it was a GREAT trip, and I made some friends for the rest of my college career. This trip helped me break out of my comfort zone as I traveled to a new city, got to know new people, and donated my time to helping others. It was fulfilling to hear “thank you” so many times. It made me realize that I CAN help change people’s lives and this trip gave me so much perspective on just how lucky I am. I go to a great college. I have a great family who is not only physically healthy but mentally healthy as well, and we have good relationships. When I look at the Clemson/ Pickens County area, I see people struggling to make ends meet and simply put food on the table. I am so blessed that I am in the position I am today, and I take this for granted all too often. I need to make the most out of every situation in life and be grateful for what I’ve been given.

For your reading pleasure, below is a short summary of our week with some pictures!

DAY 1 – Travel Day 1

Saturday March 18th, 2017 – We started our trip. The first leg was from North Central College to Knoxville, Tennessee. We stayed at a church. There was a game room, basketball court, and a big area were everyone slept for the night.

DAY 2 – Travel Day 2

Sunday March 19th, 2017 – We stopped at a local 1donut shop—Markers donuts—and made our way to Clemson, South Carolina driving through the  Blue Ridge Mountains. That evening, our main Habitat for Humanity host, Cindy, cooked us lasagna and garlic bread and helped us settle into Clemson United Methodist Church for the week

DAY 3 – Work Day 1

Monday March 20th, 2017 – Today was the day—WORK DAY 1.  The house we were assigned was about 40 minutes away from the church. We met our contractor Art who gave us duct tape to make name tags. The goal for the week was to law down hardwood floor throughout the house and put up trim around the windows and doors. One of the Habitat board members owns Wendy’s so we got to enjoy as much food as possible for dinner that evening, too, and explore the river walk in downtown Greensville.

DAY 4 – Work Day 2

Tuesday March 21st, 2017 – We finished up the flooring in the bedrooms then moved our way to the hallway and kitchen and family room. Once we finished up the bedrooms we7 put a cleaner, flooring paper, and cardboard on the floor to protect them. We walked down to a little place called Hagood Mill to eat our lunch were there was a blacksmith, a mill where they used the river to make flour, and a moonshine still. For dinner, we went to Clemson University’s Church were we engaged with their Catholic student group and some faculty too. We toured campus and were able to go into the football stadium!

DAY 5 – Work Day 3

Wednesday March 22nd, 2017 – We conquered a lot this day. We finished up the flooring after many days of hard work. During our evening church dinner, I met some people that lived in St. Charles until 2014. I couldn’t believe how small the world really is and how you can relate so much to someone simply because you lived in the same place.

DAY 6 – Work Day 4

Thursday March 23rd, 2017 – Details were our main focus at the worksite with flooring and starting the trim work on the windows and framing the doors. Cindy took us to talk with some current Habitat homeowners and hear their stories—to help break down the stereotypical view of someone who may need a home. Cindy also have us a lot of the background on what it takes to get a Habitat house. She also took us to her home on a farm where she hosts weddings and more! While relaxing that evening, everyone randomly wanted to how to dance to Footloose. We spent an hour trying to practice it. We did an ok job!

DAY 7 – Work Day 5

Friday March 24th, 2017 – Our last day of work was a half day so we could hike and explore! We finished up majority of the 11windows and doors trim work. We were proud of ourselves. Cindy gave us a picture of all of us and the house in the background. I have it hanging on my wall by my desk. Art took us on a trail he blazed himself, nowhere to be found on a map, with a great view of water falls. And after that hike, we went to another trail (mapped) and found another waterfall which was huge. We all had a great time just lying in the sun, listening to the water, and reflecting on how lucky we were to be in that place, in that moment, and on that trip.

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Feed the Need: Another Round

By: Kyle Exline, Head Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Coach + The Office of Ministry & Service


Friends! Our 3rd year of hosting Feed the Need–a partnership of Feed My Starving Children, the Feed the Need coalition, and the Office of Ministry and Servicehas passed and another round is coming in 2018! Before diving into what’s ahead we wanted to take a look back and celebrate together.

To highlight, over 5,000 volunteers packed 1,003,084 meals feeding 2,748 children for an entire year on February 18th and 19th, 2017 in the Res/Rec Center on the campus of North Central College. 32519068664_a744deb92e_o

The meals packed at the 2017 MobilePack were distributed as follows:

  • Nicaragua
    • 816,480 meals went to Nicaragua through Food for the Poor. In Nicaragua specifically, Food for the Poor provides medical care through several clinics, they sponsor 22 orphanages and they also build housing units. Find out more information at: foodforthepoor.org
  • Haiti
    • 186,624 meals went to Haiti through Love A Child. Find out more information at: loveachild.com

33234447751_cf7ba396ce_kOn a personal level, in 2016 our women’s volleyball team helped out at Feed the Need and they were the ones that suggested this again to the coaching staff! We included our men’s players and we were looking at this in two ways: A) we can give back to kids in need and B) we can bond together as a volleyball family! Our day started off with a team meeting before we entered the doors! We had 14 returners and 42 first time Feed the Need volunteers (including coaches). As we were dispersed to our work stations, the men’s and women’s players split up in packs and they were able to cover seven stations. The student athletes were working together, laughing, smiling, grinding, and celebrating every box they created!33206800382_c78de373db_k
They all took this as an opportunity to spend time together and work towards a common goal off of the court. Once the bell rang, we cleaned up our stations and headed back to our chairs. They shared joy and excitement once they were completed. Once the final numbers came into circulation, they were astonished that their work was able to provide 700+ children with meals for a year in one single, hour and a half shift! They all left feeling gratified but not satisfied because they are all eager to help in 2018. We hope you can, too!

So on that note, we are excited to announce next’s year’s mobile pack dates!!!!!!

Drum roll….

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SAvE THE DATE