News Release, US Naval Academy
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Thirty-two members of the Naval Academy Midshipman Action Group (MAG) will spend their spring breaks contributing to a variety of service projects in communities around the country March 8-17.
Eight midshipmen will spend their spring break in Newark, N.J. The group will tour the city and visit Newark City Hall to learn about the city’s priorities across its diverse communities. After their introduction to Newark, the midshipmen will volunteer in a local community center to install library shelves, clean athletic facilities, and paint a motivational mural in the facility. During the second half of their trip, the group will visit a Newark school and spend time mentoring students.
“I’m most excited about meeting the kids we get to work with in Newark,” said Newark team co-leader, Midshipman 2nd Class Ruth Langat. “I think meeting people who are successfully engaged in higher education really encourages kids to follow their dreams, and that is so fulfilling for me.”
“I previously volunteered at the school we will be visiting, so it will be great to see the progress some of the kids have made since I last saw them,” said Newark team co-leader, Midshipman 1st Class Aaron Lewis. “Inspiring kids to do the right things and be successful is a really important part of why we do service and outreach trips like this.”
Ten midshipmen will travel to Chicago to complete several projects. The group will begin their trip by spending time in a local homeless shelter, where they will be briefed on the mission and vision of the shelter, donate new socks collected in a recent sock drive, and share a meal with residents before volunteering with the shelter’s food pantry and after-school program. MAG midshipmen will also assist the training staff at the shelter in providing job interview preparation to residents. Additionally, the group will spend a day mentoring youth in a local Chicago school, and visit Chicago City Hall to learn about the city’s efforts to help its most vulnerable populations.
“I’m looking forward to having a physical impact with our service and skills, but also meeting members of the community and listening to their stories,” said Chicago team lead, Midshipman 1st Class Dan Dolan. “The biggest part is the human aspect, especially with the kids. Just being there and having the chance to read together or share a meal does so much to bridge the gap between populations.”
A group of MAG midshipmen will return to Port Aransas, Texas, where they spent last spring break assisting a disabled veteran and his four children to rebuild their home after it sustained damage in Hurricane Harvey. This year, 12 midshipmen will assist another family in the community to repair damage to their home from the devastating 2017 storm.
“We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Texas to help rebuild a home and make a positive impact on a well-deserving family,” said the Texas team lead, Midshipman 1st Class Jordan Rushing. “I was on the rebuilding trip last year, which allowed me to see how grateful the families are for the help. I couldn’t imagine a more gratifying way to spend my spring break than to get back there and help another family.”
The Naval Academy Community Relations Director, Miriam Stanicic explained that MAG has carefully planned each of these alternative spring break trips with community partners on the ground in Newark, Chicago and Port Aransas.
“You can feel the excitement as Midshipmen prepare to engage with communities in these cities and township,” said Stanicic. “We have been communicating with our community partners on a consistent basis to ensure that we are well-prepared to reach out to the shelters, and youth organizations, and to ensure that we can provide the helping hands to rebuild a home in heightened disrepair from a catastrophic hurricane. The United States Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation proudly funds the Midshipman Action Group spring break trips and continues to give back to USNA’s future leaders of character, courage and commitment.”
Established in 1992 as a community relations program for and by the Brigade of Midshipmen, MAG currently offers a variety of educational, environmental and social service volunteer projects in coordination with community partners from the Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas, as well as regional and national partners. MAG members participate in numerous local volunteer and community service programs throughout the academic year. MAG prepares midshipmen for future service by encouraging peer leadership, teamwork, character development, morale, selflessness and goodwill towards others.
Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service. More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Report has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college. Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, cyber security, and military law. Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 25 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.