Alternate College Breaks: New York Immersion

Encountering the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor

“Whom shall I send?…here am I, send me.”  Isaiah 6: 1-13s

An opportunity for college and university students

The Center at Mariandale opens its doors to colleges and universities that seek to provide alternative break immersion offerings to students who wish to consider how they are called to protect our common home and care for the marginalized of the earth.

Situated about 30 miles north of New York City, Mariandale offers weeklong immersions that include hands on, direct service to the hungry and homeless, sustainable gardening, and engagement with advocacy organizations serving marginalized communities.

In the tradition of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, Mariandale invites students to deeper reflection on how their lives might “preach justice” and promote sustainability. The Dominican pillars of contemplation, study, community, and service are weaved into the programs and activities of the week.

Immersion Components

Immersions are tailored to the needs and specific goals of groups. Available offerings include:

♦   Service with the “Midnight Run” which shares food and clothing with hungry and homeless of Manhattan
♦   Gardening work that helps provide nutritious food for local food pantries coupled with direct service distribution of care packages to families
♦   Visit to South Bronx Unite, an advocacy organization responding to social and environmental needs of local communities
♦   Building and repair projects, sponsored by the Fuller Center for Housing, benefitting the working poor
♦   Presentations by religious and secular leaders who have dedicated their lives to service and social and environmental justice
♦   Walking tours of NYC and surrounding cities, helping students “open eyes” to local communities in new ways
♦   Meeting with United Nations NGO’s engaging in advocacy for environment issues
♦   Guided prayer experiences (labyrinth, Hudson River reflection, nature path walks) to deepen spiritual engagement of participants.

The Center at Mariandale offers

√  Private guest rooms bedrooms with communal bathroom
√  Three meals a day
√  Attractive meeting rooms and 61 acres of land above the Hudson River
√  Staffing to plan and help lead service and reflection experiences.

Sample Week at Mariandale

√  Sunday – arrival, dinner, discussion on how participants are called to preach justice
√  Monday – garden work, cry of earth and cry of poor discussion, walking tour, food pantry work
√  Tuesday – garden work, eco-justice discussion, food prep, Midnight Run to NYC
√  Wednesday – garden work, processing Run, visit to NYC environmental/community advocacy center
√  Thursday – garden work, leadership for justice discussion, affordable housing work
√  Friday – garden work, labyrinth reflection, NYC site-seeing afternoon with visit to UN environmental NGO
√  Saturday – prepare for departure.


Mariandale can host groups of less than 10 participants (5 would be minimal) at $115/person a day, and groups 10-15 at  $100/person a day. Please note that costs are negotiable.

For more information, please contact Dr. Carl Procario-Foley at

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