Alternative Break Offerings Include Disaster Relief
Building sustainable houses, volunteering in a Cherokee community in
rural Appalachia, assisting hurricane disaster relief efforts and
interacting with terminally ill children are among the alternative
break service opportunities available for Alma College students.
In all, three alternative break trips are planned for Dec. 13-20 and nine excursions are scheduled for Winter Break Feb. 21-28, 2009. Other service topics include Habitat for Humanity home construction, outreach to the hungry and homeless, environmental restoration efforts, youth education, and U.S.-Mexico border issues.
Students volunteered for disaster relief during last year's alternative breaks.
Alternative breaks are designed to widen students’ awareness of
the needs of those around them, says Hillary Forslund, Alma College’s
AmeriCorps VISTA representative in the Center for Responsible
“They are lots of fun and great bonding experiences for students, but alternative breaks go far deeper than that,” says Forslund. “In many cases students discover their passion when they are engaged in communities in which they are helping others. These service experiences influence their life choices.”
Students may apply for the February alternative break service trips beginning Nov. 3 at the Center for Responsible Leadership. Application forms also will be available on the Center’s Website. In addition, a campus presentation on alternative breaks will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, in the Dow Science Center Room L-1.
Last year, more than 100 students, faculty and staff participated in alternative break trips.
This year’s December trips include the following:
• Affordable Housing (faith based) — Participants will assist the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in Punta Gorda, Fla., in new home construction. Manual labor may include dry walling, framing, roofing or anything that goes into building a home.
• Terminally Ill Children — Students will interact with children and their families at the Ronald McDonald House associated with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
• Disaster Relief — Students will assist with Hurricane Ike clean up and home repair in Bridge City, Texas. Additional service opportunities may include clerical duties, casework or after-school programs.
The Winter Break trips in February include the following:
• Hunger and Homelessness (faith based) — Participants will work with several organizations in Washington, D.C., in service activities related to the hungry and homeless.
• Affording Housing — Students will return to Georgetown, S.C., to assist the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in new home construction. Students who built homes last year in Georgetown reported a positive experience.
• Sustainable Housing — Students will partner with Greensburg GreenTown, a nonprofit organization established to provide support for the rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas, as a model green community following the May 2007 tornado. Activities will included organizational office work as well manual labor housing projects.
• Terminally Ill Children — Students will interact with children and their families at four Ronald McDonald Houses for terminally ill children and their families in the Chicago area.
• Environmental — Students will volunteer in Moab, Utah, with Plateau Restoration, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to protecting and restoring native wildlife habitats of the Colorado Plateau.
• Immigration/Border Issues — Details about a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border will be forthcoming.
• Youth Education — Partnering with EducationWorks, students will assist teachers and students in classroom and after-school programs at an urban elementary school in Philadelphia.
• Rural Poverty — Trail maintenance, museum work and service projects in a local Cherokee community will highlight service activities in Knoxville, Tenn., coordinated by Once Upon a Time in Appalachia, an environmental and community service organization that focuses on rural Appalachia.
• Disaster Relief (faith based) — Students will join with members of the Midland Memorial Presbyterian Church to assist with Hurricane Ike clean up and home repair. Additional service opportunities may include clerical duties, casework or after-school programs.
Most service teams consist of approximately 10 students. Each group has a faculty/staff learning partner. The cost to participants ranges from $100 to $200. The trips are funded by a continuance grant from the Lilly Endowment and participant fees.
Earlier this term, student teams participated in three alternative break opportunities during their Fall Break Oct. 15-17. They volunteered at the Center for the Homeless in South Bend, Ind.; Open Door, an outreach for the homeless, at Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit; and with Grand Rapids Area Adventure Racing in Grand Rapids.
Posted: Mon, October 27th, 2008 at 5:06PM