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This Story is provided by The Herald Times

Students to spend spring break helping Mexico

By Mercedes Rodriguez 331-4370 |
March 7, 2008

By the time the sun sets today, a group of 12 Ivy Tech Bloomington students will have made it to Mexico City for the start of a spring break trip that will hopefully change lives — their own and those in a small rural village.

Those students and two Ivy Tech staff members will be in the little town of Calnali in the state of Hidalgo for the school’s first international Alternative Spring Break program. There, the students — a varied bunch, among them a 52-year-old Visteon worker, a U.S. Marine, a single mom and an international student from Honduras — will help pour concrete floors for two homes, deliver clothes and school supplies to those in need and visit two rural schools.

“I’m hoping to go down there and really do Ivy Tech justice and really make a difference,” said Virginia Iozzo, a student going on the trip.

Also on the trip is the school’s director of civic engagement, Mark Howard. He says the trip fits in with Ivy Tech’s mission to promote civic engagement through service learning and volunteerism. “I hope they take the value of service back, if they haven’t been involved in service, that they take it back to Bloomington.” He also says he hopes that the trip will broaden the students’ awareness of the rest of the world.

For some of those involved, this is the trip of a lifetime. “I feel that I’ve gotten this amazing opportunity,” said Iozzo. The trip will be an eye-opener. “I just think that if everybody could do a little something like this, I just think it would make everyone a better person. I’m sure it would make me a better person,” said student Judy Borden, a Visteon employee and longtime foster parent.

For Chancellor John Whikehart, the also trip has a special meaning for the school itself. “For us as a campus, we are determined that we are going to meet the very broad mission of being a comprehensive community college, and this certainly helps in that,” he said. He said he hopes the school will expand students’ horizons in addition to providing work-force development and a liberal arts education.

While in Mexico, the students will be posting blog entries about their experiences. The blog will be posted on Ivy Tech’s Web site.

On the Web

To see the Ivy Tech Alternative Spring Break blog, go to