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Students Serve Others During Alternative Holiday Breaks

“Being able to spend a week meeting new people and making friends while giving back to the community is so rewarding—especially right before the holidays.” — Joelle Fisher

Alma College students serve during holiday breaks.Alma College students serve during holiday breaks.

Alma College students will serve meals, mentor inner city youth, remodel homes and volunteer in other ways in communities throughout the nation while on holiday break between Dec. 15 and Jan. 6.

The service experiences are provided through the Alternative Break Program, which allows students to apply classroom learning to real-life situations and gain a greater appreciation of the value of serving others.

“I participated in my first Alternative Break trip when I was a freshman and loved it,” says co-chair and site leader Annika Gurrola, a senior from Billings, Mont. “This program has introduced me to a wide array of social justice issues that I was oblivious to before coming to Alma.”

“Alternative Break is one of my favorite experiences that I have taken part in at Alma College,” says veteran breaker Joelle Fisher, Muskegon senior. “Being able to spend a week meeting new people and making friends while giving back to the community is so rewarding—especially right before the holidays.”

A listing of this year’s volunteer sites with descriptions is found below.

Alma College Alternative Holiday Breaks: Dec. 15-22 and Jan. 2-6

Urban Poverty—Center for the Homeless, South Bend, Ind. (Dec. 15-19)
Volunteers will serve meals, tutor school-age children, sort clothing donations and help the shelter with pre-Christmas preparations.

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

Embrace the Neighborhood—AMEN, St. Louis, Mo. (Dec. 16-22)
Volunteers will learn about the effects of poverty, homelessness and systematic racism as they work in food banks, nurseries and battered women’s shelters throughout St. Louis, Mo.

Urban Poverty—Medici Project, Nashville, Tenn. (Jan. 2-6)
Volunteers will spend time serving and learning at two urban homeless shelters and have the opportunity to interact and volunteer with middle school students in the afternoons.

Affordable Housing—Habitat for Humanity, Elizabethtown, Ky. (Jan. 2-6)
Participants will work with Hardin County Habitat for Humanity to build and remodel homes for families in need.

Urban Poverty—Firestone Center, Flint, Mich. (Jan. 2-6)
Participants will assist in a variety of tasks including mentoring inner city students, providing services to the structurally unemployed, revitalizing neighborhoods and building/repairing houses.

Story published on November 29, 2017