Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

July 18, 2013

Andover trio 'blessed' by mission to Haiti

The Andover Townsman

---- — Two North Shore Community College students from Andover recently traveled to Haiti on an eight-day mission to build a house in Canaan, a new neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.

The mission team included Maria Rockwell and Kelly Broderick-Peck, who are in the Danvers college’s Women in Transition program, as well as Rockwell’s 14-year-old son, Tom.

Housed outside the city in a town called Blanchard, the team carried out its project in 95-degree, dusty conditions.

“Nothing anyone tells you can truly prepare you for the intensity of the feelings experienced on a trip such as this,” Broderick-Peck said in a press release. “The sights you see, the people you meet, the terrain and weather conditions you experience and the feelings you bring home are more than you can ever imagine.

“I was amazed at the resilience the Haitian people exhibited despite living in such extreme poverty. They were so appreciative of our efforts in helping them, yet I am the one that feels so blessed to have been given this opportunity to come to their country and have such a wonderful experience.”

The trip was led by Marty Rodweller, academic counselor in the Student Support Center, who was making his first trip back to Haiti since the 2010 earthquake.

The effort is the brainchild of Nate Manderson, the college’s academic counselor/career advising, who as an advisor at UMass Dartmouth has been taking teams to Haiti through Partners in Development. The nonprofit organization strives to help the extreme poor in Haiti, Guatemala and elsewhere attain independence and whole life improvement.

Students funded the trip by applying for financial aid, a scholarship and/or paid a portion on their own. Finding funding for such experiences is a challenge for both students and the college, NSCC staff say. However, based on the value of the experience and the positive impact on participating students, college officials are reportedly exploring what it would take to start a formal international studies component. For more, visit