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A Holiday Tradition: Students Commit to Alternative Breaks

“The service portion of alternative breaks is more than giving back to a community. It’s the process of gaining a tangible understanding of the people who deal with these issues and the root causes of an issue.” — Sophia Richter

<em>Alma students build dog houses during a recent animal welfare alternative break.</em>Alma students build dog houses during a recent animal welfare alternative break.Always looking to fulfill the school’s mission to “serve generously” and “live responsibly,” Alma College students will once again spend their holiday break helping others.

Alma College ranked number one in the nation in the percentage of students that participated in alternative break service trips last year. Students have multiple service opportunities available for the holiday break (Dec. 16-22 and Jan. 2-9).

“I see alternative breaks as a way for students to gain a deeper awareness about social issues: how they manifest within communities or individuals’ lives and how they are interrelated,” says West Kingston, R.I., sophomore Sophia Richter, student co-chair of the alternative breaks program at Alma College.

Students will participate in five alternative breaks focusing on urban poverty, animal welfare, children’s health, refugee settlement and affordable housing during the Christmas holiday break. Additional trips are planned for spring break in late February.

“The service portion of alternative breaks is more than giving back to a community,” says Richter. “It’s the process of gaining a tangible understanding of the people who deal with these issues and the root causes of an issue.”

Alma College Alternative Breaks
Dec. 16-Dec. 22 and Jan. 2-Jan. 9

Urban Poverty—Center for the Homeless, South Bend, Ind. (Dec. 16-20)
Volunteers will serve meals, tutor children and sort clothing donations as needed.

Animal Welfare—Animal Rescue in Appalachia, Harlan, Ky. (Dec. 17-21)
Focusing on caring for dogs in a rural setting, participants will build dog houses and educate on caring for dogs.

Children’s Health—Ronald McDonald House, Memphis, Tenn. (Dec. 17-22)
Participants will assist Ronald McDonald House staff as needed. Potential duties may include helping with the holiday store, toy sanitization, housekeeping and operational tasks.

Human Trafficking/Refugee Settlement—Medici Project, Atlanta, Ga. (Jan. 2-6)
While volunteering with local agencies, volunteers will explore Atlanta’s response to the issues of human trafficking and refugee settlement.

Affordable Housing—Habitat for Humanity, Athens, Ohio (Jan. 2-7)
Participants will work to build and remodel homes for families in need of a quality affordable home.

Story published on November 23, 2016