GO! Winter Teams Return From Trips


The GO! Camden/Philly team were immersed in their community service experience during winter break. (Courtesy of Apollonia Colacicco)


The GO! Camden/Philly team were immersed in their community service experience during winter break. (Courtesy of Apollonia Colacicco)

This past winter break, students of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) embarking on Global Outreach (GO!) missions flooded the Dominican Republic, Camden, Philadelphia (Camden/Philly), and Florida. GO! Dominican Republic was from Jan. 4-13, GO! Camden/Philly was from Jan. 8-14, and GO! Florida was from Jan. 4-15. The students have returned and share their varying experiences.

According to the GO! website, the main mission of GO! Dominican Republic was to help in the development, education and health of the children in the Joan Rose Foundation afterschool program in the small town of Esperanza in northwestern Dominican Republic. They also went on field trips to Santiago, Salcedo, the University of Dominican Republic, local markets, and beaches where they immersed themselves in the culture, history and heritage of the Dominican Republic. GO! Dominican Republic students played with the children in the Foundation (who numbered to more than 90), assisted teachers, prepared meals and painted a mural for the Foundation.

The GO! trips were very inspiring and life-changing for many of the people that went. Although the teams had a great time, there were some challenges that each team encountered on their trips.

Students who went on GO! Florida worked in Immokalee, Florida, in an after school program, a computer training course, a shelter, a soup kitchen and an early beginnings program. They worked with organizations that focus on farm workers’ rights issues, fair wages and food justice. They volunteered with Immokalee Housing and Family Services, Guadalupe House and Friendship House. They also got the opportunity to visit the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

In GO! Camden/Philly, students worked with multiple community-based organizations such as a day center, a community center for people affected with HIV/AIDS, a wheelchair community, the South Jersey Food Bank, a school and a day shelter.

Each night, the students got together to reflect on the day’s activities.

Abiezer Mendez, FCLC ’13, leader of GO! Dominican Republic, felt that there were not many major challenges but did feel like the team lacked in preparation. “We stood out a lot [in Dominican Republic] so I feel like we didn’t prepare enough in working on how we’d present ourselves.”

On the other hand, Apollonia Colacicco, FCLC ’13, who was on the GO! Camden/Philly team, said, “You can prepare as much as you can, but when you go there, it’s really different. You have to be really open and willing to put yourself in an uncomfortable position.”

Gianna Sciangula, FCLC ’15, who was also on the GO! Camden/Philly team, felt that there were no challenges that prevented them from going to their worksites. To Sciangula, the biggest challenge to her was living simply for a week.

One of the pillars of GO! is simple living, which means the GO! teams could not have electronic devices, such as laptops and iPods. Only the chaperone and the team leader were allowed to have cell phones. Team members were also only allowed to bring a small amount of money for food.

Though it was a challenge, Sciangula felt good distancing herself from electronics. “I began to see that helping a child get food to eat was more important than checking my Facebook,” Sciangula said.

Wanda Medina, FCLC ’15, a member of GO! Florida, said that she learned how to appreciate the small things in life, like smiling, playing sports and going to the park. “On the trip, we were able to do that and it made me truly appreciate simple living,” said Medina.

Aisha Blake, FCLC ’13, leader of GO! Camden/Philly, talked about her experience with working as a team. She said she was “blown away by the capacity of unconditional love between team members and the people at the work place. It allowed the team to become more open and more willing to connect.” To Blake, this was very fulfilling and she considers this GO! trip the best experience of her life.

Blake was not the only one deeply affected by her GO! trip. Alexa Frank, FCLC ’12, member of GO! Dominican Republic, believed this experience went over and beyond what she expected.

Frank’s most memorable moment during her GO! experience came on the team’s last day in the Dominican Republic. She said she got close with a three year old boy named Elio. On their last day, the last thing Elio said to Frank was “te amo.” “It was very touching; it’s something I won’t ever forget,” Frank said.

Janine Vincente, FCLC ’13, a member of GO! Dominican Republic, said, “We arrived in the country with hopeful and altruistic intentions…and left the Dominican Republic knowing that we’ve made a positive change somewhere in the world.” Vincente was very happy with all the success the team was able to do in ten days.

“GO! is probably the best thing about Fordham,” Blake said. On the same note, Mendez said, “It was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had. I encourage everyone at Fordham to do Global Outreach. For those who want to lead a team, it’s hard work but it’s extremely rewarding.”