She never hesitates to be the loudest and most energetic sister during ADPi chants. She’s our corresponding secretary and is always punctual with writing thank you letters. Mary Shannon is a sophomore communication sciences and disorders major and loves to give back!
Instead of spending her spring break lounging on her couch or on the beach she decided to participate in an Alternative Spring Break (ASB). She went to Bristol, Florida and worked with The Nature Conservancy.
While most ASB trips involve working with people, Mary Shannon dealt with improving the environment. She labeled herself as an, “outdoor girl at heart” but explained she doesn’t have a lot of time at JMU to participate in outdoor activities. At home she is used to working with disabled adults and children so she decided to branch out from her usual work and help make this world a better place in a different way.
During the ASB trip Mary Shannon lived on only $6 each day which is below the poverty line. She had $1 delegated to breakfast, $2 for lunch, and $3 dollars for dinner. While she did not find the work very glorifying, she labels the people who worked there as infectious. They had so much passion for restoring the environment and dedicate their life to the restoration of the Longleaf Pine forests. Mary Shannon enjoyed giving them just a few days of service for everything they do on a daily basis.
Mary Shannon explained it was, “Cathartic to escape from the little things we get caught up in every day. No cell phone, no worries.” She found it was so easy to simply live in the moment without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. She was able to step out of her comfort zone and found herself living Bristol, Florida with eight new friends.
In conclusion she happily stated, “If every night could end with Reese's s'mores and non-stop laughter around a campfire I'd be set for life.” I hope her story inspires other sisters to participate in ASB trips in the future and to give back on a daily basis even if it is in a small way.