Alternative Breaks Engage Students in Service
Nine Alternative Break service experiences will engage Alma College students during the upcoming holiday and winter breaks, ranging from building and refurbishing homes, to interacting with border immigrants, to serving meals to the homeless.
“Alternative breaks are really fun,” says Eaton Rapids senior Teresa Larson, who will be leading a group to West Palm Beach, Fla., in February for a Habitat for Humanity project. “I love meeting and working with the families we are serving.”
Students served meals, sorted clothing and greeted guests at Open Door Ministry, a community outreach program at Detroit’s Fort Street Presbyterian Church, in October.
Larson, an education major, has participated in three Alternative Breaks during her four years at Alma College. She has tutored inner city youth in Trenton, N.J., worked on a Habitat for Humanity home in Green Briar, West Va., and participated in disaster relief in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“In Tuscaloosa, we worked in a community that was completely destroyed by the tornado that came through in April 2011,” she says. “We did exterior work on a house that was being restored.
“When I talk to other students, I tell them the Alternative Breaks program helped make my Alma College experience great because of the places I went and the people I served,” she says. “It’s a way to think outside of yourself, to interact with other people, and see what is going in the world outside of Alma.”
In 2011-12, Alma College ranked third in the nation in the percentage of students — 8.2 percent — that participated in alternative break service trips, according to Break Away, the national organization that supports the development of alternative break experiences that inspire lifelong active citizenship. Read more.
Following are the planned Alternative Breaks for Dec. 15-22 and Feb. 23-March 2.
Alternative Breaks: December 15-22, 2012
• Affordable Housing: Habitat for Humanity, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Students will assist in constructing homes for economically disadvantaged families.
• Disaster Relief: National Relief Network, LaPlace, La.
Students will assist with cleanup efforts in an area heavily damaged by flooding that resulted from Hurricane Isaac.
• Hunger Homelessness: Center for the Homeless, South Bend, Ind.
Students will assist a local homeless center as needed, including tutoring children, serving meals and sorting clothing donations.
• Urban Poverty: Wayside Christian Mission, St. Joseph Children’s Home, Habitat ReStore, Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, Ky.
Students will assist multiple agencies in volunteer work that involves interaction with young children and adults.
Alternative Breaks: February 23-March 2, 2013
• Affordable Housing: Habitat for Humanity, Georgetown, Del.
Students will help construct homes for disadvantaged families.
• Disaster Relief: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Henryville, Ind.
Students will assist cleanup efforts in an area damaged by a major tornado.
• Immigration and Border Issues: El Paso, Texas, or Nogales, Ariz.
Students will assist with service efforts and interact with immigrants in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.
• Multicultural Arts and Urban Youth: Milwaukee, Wis.
Organized by Alma College alumna Mary Sugiyama, students will volunteer with a variety of inner-city agencies that assist African-American refugees, Hispanic ESL learners and troubled youth.
• Rural Poverty: Once Upon a Time, Maryville, Tenn.
Students will work with the Cherokee Nation in a rural Appalachia community on trail maintenance and service projects.
Posted: Fri, November 30th, 2012 at 4:32PM