Newsroom

Students Build Homes, Serve Meals, Provide Disaster Relief

November 22, 2013

“Alternative breaks teach you to become an active citizen. Students learn to research the issue, serve the community with understanding and then find ways to continue making a difference with that issue back home.” — Cody Nevins

Alma College students will embark on 10 alternative break service experiences over the holiday and winter breaks, varying from building homes and disaster relief to immigration issues and civil rights.

“The face-to-face interactions with the people we’re helping is the best part of alternative breaks,” says West Branch senior Lauren Steinhurst. “Seeing a smile on their faces is the best part of any day.”

A student works with inner-city youth in Milwaukee.A student works with inner-city youth in Milwaukee.

Steinhurst, a mathematics major, has completed service in Washington, D.C., New Orleans and Philadelphia and will be going to New Jersey to help with disaster relief this holiday break. She also has been involved in service closer to home, in West Branch and Gratiot County.

“Alternative breaks teach you to become an active citizen,” says Alma junior Cody Nevins. “Students learn to research the issue, serve the community with understanding and then find ways to continue making a difference with that issue back home.”

Nevins, an education major, has completed hurricane relief, rural poverty and civic engagement alternative breaks in New Orleans, Maryville, Tenn., and Philadelphia. He also will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in December to participate in service with the homeless.

“I love being able to go to a new location doing service with people from campus that I’ve never met before and then being able to come back as a close knit group,” he says.

Alternative Breaks are made possible through the Responsible Leadership Institute and the Alternative Break Student Advisory Board. For more information about specific alternative break experiences, contact Sallie Scheide at (989) 463-7043 or scheide@alma.edu.

Following are the planned alternative breaks.

Alternative Breaks: Dec. 15-21, 2013

• Affordable Housing: Habitat for Humanity, Elizabethtown, Ky.
Students will assist in building safe and affordable homes for economically disadvantaged families.

• Disaster Relief (faith based): Brigantine, N.J.
Students will assist with cleanup efforts in an area affected by Hurricane Sandy.

• Urban Poverty: Center for the Homeless South Bend, Ind.
Students will volunteer at the center as needed, including serving meals, tutoring school children and sorting clothing donations.

• Hunger/Homelessness: The Pilgrimage, Washington, D.C.
Students will partner with various urban agencies responding to the hungry and the homeless.

• Keeping it in the Mitten: Cass Community Social Services, Detroit.
Students may select this Michigan service option as Alma College develops partnerships within inner-city Detroit.

Alternative Breaks: Feb. 22- March 1, 2014

• Affordable Housing: Habitat for Humanity, Athens, Ohio.
Students will assist in home construction for economically disadvantaged families.

• Civil Rights: Freedom Foundation, Selma, Ala.
Students will assist with service in Selma communities and will learn more about the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

• Immigration and Border Issues: El Paso, Texas, or Nogales, Ariz.
Students will participate in service in communities along the Mexico border while learning about the issues faced by immigrants along the border.

• Home Access: United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn.
Students will assist in building wheelchair ramps.

• Foods and Sustainability: Global Peace Initiatives, Indianapolis, Ind.
Students will assist with urban farming and sustainability initiatives.