Now in its 18th year, the Colleges’ Alternative Spring Break program is accepting applications for hands-on service opportunities at four locations across the country.
The program’s 2018 itinerary offers service-learning trips to Mariam Boyd Elementary School in North Carolina, the Pocahontas State Park outside of Richmond, Va., the Rural and Migrant Ministry in Lyons, N.Y., and the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans, La. Led by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL), students depart from HWS on Saturday, March 17 and return a week later, Saturday, March 24.
HWS volunteers traveling to Mariam Boyd Elementary School will provide one-on-one tutoring to students, lead group reading and math sessions and help teachers engage students within the classroom. They will also serve at an afterschool program at Mariam Boyd, where they can interact with students through arts and crafts and various activities. Natalie Bishop ’18, who volunteered in 2015, says, “not only was I able to work and make connections with the kids in my elementary classroom, but I was able to become friends with remarkable students from HWS.”
Having spent a spring break at Pocahontas State Park, Joshua Martin ’18 agrees, saying the “program was not only a great service trip but a great opportunity for me to become friends with students I probably would not have interacted with on campus.” This year at Pocahontas, students will spend a week building bridges, installing drainage pipes, clearing land and trails, and removing or re-building fishing piers.
At the Rural and Migrant Ministry, a non-for-profit group near Geneva, HWS volunteers will work with local migrant workers. From the realities of immigration and food production, Marisela Palafox ’18 says the experience “really opened my eyes to a social issue that is not spoken about enough.”
With the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit disaster relief organization founded after Hurricane Katrina, students will spend the week helping rebuild houses in St. Bernard Parish, which was rendered 100% uninhabitable by Katrina’s floodwaters. SBP launched in 2006 to help residents achieve their recovery goals and is now recognized as a leader in disaster resilience and recovery, with a mission to shrink time between disaster and recovery.
Learn more about this year’s service-learning trips and options for designing individualized spring break service work.