From Participant to Leader, Dewkett Talks ASB Impact

Michelle Dewkett has a passion for service learning, as she has done many service trips throughout high school and has continued the trend in college. She has been a part of two Alternative Service Break experiences so far.

Her introduction to ASB, a experience in the Dominican Republic, was quite adventurous.

“I got really close with our bus driver, Bam Bam,” she said. “I actually fell and I twisted my ankle and had to go to the hospital. So that was really interesting. Hospitals in the Dominican Republic are kind of scary, but Bam Bam and my team leader and our correspondent took really good care of me.

Michelle, an International Studies-International Relations major, says that the experience allowed her to see a lot of the issues within the healthcare system there, which led her to her second trip.

“I wanted to see if different countries within Latin America had the same infrastructure problems,” says Michelle.

In the Dominican Republic, CSLEPS teams up with OutReach360. The ultimate goal of Outreach360 is to make an impact in the lives of individuals, families, communities, countries, and the world through the education and development of disadvantaged children.

Dewkett’s second trip was to Guatemala where her team focused on health issues, working hand-in-hand with Project Ixcanaan.

This year, Michelle will take part in her third and final Alternative Service Break experience. It will be in Nicaragua. An ASB trip leader, her team will partner with the Fuller Center for Housing.

“Leading this trip this year is really special to me, because I get to go back to Nicaragua,” she said.

As a high school student, Michelle traveled to the Central American country to do service, and she will have the opportunity to reconnect with her host family, next month. Previously she’s only been a participant in experiences. Leading the trip is a new opportunity for her.

“It is really different being a leader than just a participant,” she said. “Participants just show up to meetings. You pay whatever they tell you to pay for the trip, and then you just go. You don’t really put any planning into it; you don’t really have to put in any effort, except for on the trip. I didn’t think being a co-leader would be as difficult, but I am grateful for my co-leader Richa, because we kind of keep each other sane.”

During Spring Break week March 7-11, NC State will send over 18 ASB teams to various service locations.

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