Alternative Breaks Help Students Find Their Passion
Thirteen alternative breaks will engage Alma College students in building and refurbishing homes, serving meals, interacting with terminally ill children, protecting animals, and more during week-long service opportunities in January and February.
“About 10 percent of our students participated in alternative breaks last year,” says Christie Schichtel, Alma’s AmeriCorps*VISTA in the Center for Responsible Leadership.
“This year we have increased the number of alternative breaks, scheduled early January trips because of the later start of the Winter Term, and offered a couple of new experiences, including a service project in Michigan and an animal protection opportunity in Florida," says Schichtel.
Alissa Coldwell (left), working on a Habitat for Humanity home.
Four alternative break trips are planned for Jan. 2-9 while nine excursions are scheduled for Winter Break Feb. 27 through March 6. Alternative breaks offer service opportunities for students during their semester breaks and at other times when classes aren’t in session.
“I encourage students to find a trip that fits their passion, or find a trip that focuses on an issue they are interested in or know nothing about,” says Shepherd junior Alissa Coldwell, who served as a team leader for a faith-based Habitat for Humanity alternative break last February. “We worked on six or seven houses during our experience. It was amazing watching how people from different backgrounds interacted with each other. In our case, our group continued to meet weekly even after we returned because we were so impacted by the experience.”
Each trip of 10 to 12 students includes an Alma College faculty/staff member.
• Disabilities, United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, TN
Students will build a wheelchair ramp for a specific person or family. The service will include interaction with the client.
• Affordable Housing (faith-based), Habitat for Humanity, Punta Gorda, FL
Participants will assist the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in new home construction. Manual labor may include dry walling, framing, roofing or anything that goes into building a home.
• Animal Protection, Peace River Refuge and Ranch, Zolfo Springs, FL
Students will construct landscaping and habitat for exotic animals that have been confiscated, abused or neglected.
• Children's Health, Ronald McDonald House of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Students will plan activities and entertain terminally ill children.
• Immigration & Border Issues, Project Puente, El Paso, TX
Students will work with immigrants while learning firsthand about immigration policy.
• Disaster Relief, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Texas City, TX
Participants will construct and renovate homes in an area that was damaged by Hurricane Ike.
• Affordable Housing, Habitat for Humanity, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Students will assist the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in new home construction.
• Environment, Cumberland Trails Conference, Crossville, TN
Participants will provide trail maintenance and assist with trail construction.
• Rural Poverty, Once Upon a Time in Appalachia, Knoxville, TN
Students will assist with trail maintenance and service projects in a local Cherokee community in the Smokey Mountains.
• Affordable Housing, Genesee County Land Bank, Flint, MI
Participants will gut and refurbish homes in Flint, a city where there has been more than 4,000 home foreclosures.
• Education/Youth & Poverty, Education Works, Newark, NJ
Students will mentor youth in after-school programming.
• Disabilities, Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, Greenville, NH
Participants will assist young people and adults with severe physical, development and emotional challenges.
• HIV/AIDS, Community Servings, Boston, MA
Students will help prepare meals that are delivered to clients in their homes.
The cost to participants ranges from $75 to $225. The trips are funded by a continuance grant from the Lilly Endowment and participant fees.
Posted: Mon, December 21st, 2009 at 8:43AM