Howard University > Alternative Spring Break 2012
 
Keneisha Deas  
By Keneisha Deas
Howard University News Service
 

 

 

Future College Grads Start First as Dishwashers

DETROIT (March 16) – Sophomore Demnlus Johnson hopes to one day make major motion pictures, thus his enrollment in the Department of Radio, Television and Film at Howard University.

But today, the Richmond, Calif. native is a dishwasher at a local Salvation Army, and proud of it.

Demnlus is among dozens of Howard University students who skipped the beaches of Mexico and the Caribbean and other vacations and instead are spending their spring break helping others in Detroit.  Last week, the members of Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program were preparing food, washing dishes and cleaning the dining area for men who are down on their luck at a local Salvation Army. 

“It felt good to give back to those who were down and out. It was a humbling experience,” said Johnson, who also helped move and store boxes.

The Salvation Army has been helping people put their lives on track since 1878, which is one of the reasons ASB chose it as a site.  Its various programs serve the homeless by providing food and overnight lodging.  It also provides educational, counseling and vocational services as well as health care assistance.

The students were assigned different tasks, such as dinning assistants, food servers, preparation cooks and dishwashers.

Donald Muse, director of food services at The Salvation Army, said ASB students are a boost for the facility.

“Everybody from Howard University participates with enthusiasm,” Muse said.  “I’ve never had a problem with Howard students, and as long as I’m director, Howard students are welcome to come.” 


Amber Jones, a junior speech pathology major from Clinton, Md. served as a dinning assistant.  She found working with the men enlightening.

“It’s eye opening and life-changing,” Jones said.  “Having the opportunity to encourage and serve them and even talk to them was valuable.”

Muse said he has been pleased to see how the Salvation has helped so many people over the years.

“I’ve been working here for 16 years,” said Muse.  “It is tremendous. There is nothing like working here when every day is going to be different.”

The facility serves the men, but their family, and the whole administration for the Salvation Army- Adult Recreational Center (ARC) branch.

Michael Taylor, from Detroit, is a prep cook and a part of the program.

“It’s wonderful,” Taylor said.  “I’ve learned a lot. Currently, I prepare salads and desserts.”

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