Dominican Students, Faculty Plan Alternative Spring Break

Father Robert Haberman, director of Dominican’s Campus Ministry Office, will lead his 30th La Bamba trip to Mexico from March 9-13. Every semester, a group of 12-15 students from Dominican work at the Casa de Los Pobres, which is located in the colonia near the Tijuana dump. The House of the Poor is administered by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Peace and was co-founded by the late Father Alfred Boeddeker, founder of San Francisco’s St. Anthony Dining Hall. Students assist the Sisters by serving the more than 1,000 people who line up each day at the soup kitchen, distributing groceries and clothing, and fixing buildings. The students will also work at Mission San Rafael in nearby Colonia Esperanza, repairing houses and providing a carnival for the colonia’s children. Mission San Rafael is run by Sr. Gene McNalley, OP, a native of San Rafael and a member of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael.


This will be senior Lesley Richard’s sixth La Bamba trip. “La Bamba gets students to think outside of their typical surroundings and truly help people in need,” notes Richard, who will graduate this spring with a double major (humanities and politics) and a double minor (Latin American studies and pre-law).

Student Mel Atkins is coordinating a visit to St. Mary’s Interfaith Center, a homeless shelter in Stockton from March 6-8. A team of Dominican students involved with the University’s new Peer Ministry program will work in the shelter’s soup kitchen, which serves up to 350 men, women, and children each day. Upon their return to Dominican, the students will reflect on their experiences in order to gain insight into the human condition, social systems, and issues of justice. Atkins, a political science major, anticipates that the experience in Stockton will give him a better understanding of how policies affect homeless people.

This will be the fifth year that Elizabeth Capener, associate professor of business, has involved her students with Tax-Aid, a Bay Area organization that prepares income tax returns at no charge to low-income individuals. The group helps low-income families take full advantage of tax credits such as the Earned Income Credit and Child Care Credit. Dominican provides exclusive student assistance to Tax-Aid in Marin, while a number of other Bay Area universities are involved elsewhere in the region. Capener and her students will volunteer at Pickleweed Community Center on March 5, 12, and 19. Dominican students participate on two levels. Those with business interests and language skills interview clients and ensure accurate recording of their cases. Accountancy and finance students who are seasoned in accounting theory complete tax returns before handing over to accountants from local CPA firms.