Spend spring break giving back

Sady Swanson

Site leader and CSU veterinary medicine student Bianca Alba works with some of the children in Kansas City last spring. The kids are apart of Operation Breakthrough, a group dedicated to helping children living in poverty. (Photo credit:Caite Plunkett)
Site leader and CSU veterinary medicine student Bianca Alba works with some of the children in Kansas City last spring. The kids are a part of Operation Breakthrough, a group dedicated to helping children living in poverty. (Photo credit: Caite Plunkett)

Alternative spring breaks offer students the opportunity to experience new cultures and places while giving back to a different community.

Colorado State University offers 16 different alternate break programs through the SLiCE office.

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“It’s about creating a meaningful dialogue,” said Alternative Breaks Coordinator Caite Plunkett.

Plunkett said no student is expected to be an expert in the area where they volunteer.

Site leader Katelynn Martinez suggested students pick an area where they would like to see themselves grow, not necessarily where they have the most knowledge.

“All the trips provide something new,” Plunkett said. “Each trip covers different passion areas and provides the opportunity for students to learn and grow.”

Information sessions for this spring’s trips are on Oct. 21 in the Lory Student Center Grey Rock Room and Oct. 22 in room 372 in the LSC from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Applications are due at 5 p.m. on Oct. 28.

Working with animals

Phoenix, Arizona: Volunteers work with the HALO Animal Rescue, a no-kill shelter, and learn about animal welfare, according to the Slice website. HALO, Helping Animals Live On, specializes in providing a refuge to pets that might have been killed in other shelters.

Environment

Achiote, Panama: This is the only international alternative break trip, according to the website. Students spend the week working with local organizations, focusing on environmental conservation and ecotourism while assisting with the construction of environmental projects.

Catalina, California: Students stay at the Catalina Island Camps, according to the Slice website, and participate in different environmental projects throughout the week.

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Pine Ridge, South Dakota: This trip partners with the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, according to the website. While learning about renewable energy, participants will also experience Lakota traditions and culture.

Taos, New Mexico: Participants will learn about living off the grid and American Indian issues and culture, according to the Slice website. Students can expect to participate in building a completely sustainable house made from recycled materials.

Working with children

Boulder Creek, California: Students spend the week at the YMCA Camp Campbell, an outdoor education camp in the Redwood forest. Students will be camp counselors to fifth and sixth grade students and do various outdoor activities, according to the Slice website.

This program is for second year students.

Kansas City, Missouri: Students spend the week working directly with children while partnering with The Children’s Place, a non-profit organization that supports young children that have survived abuse or neglect, according to the Slice website.

“It was eye opening because these children are so young, but have experienced more than you could imagine,” said Alisha Johnson, senior human development and sociology major who volunteered in Kansas City last spring break.

“Volunteering has made me realize what career I want to go into, programming for at-risk youth,” Johnson said. “It’s more about learning and changing policy and programming for families instead of just volunteering our time.”

Working with people

Atlanta, Georgia: This trip partners with the International Rescue Committee and focuses on helping refugees thrive in the United States, according to the Slice website.

Chicago, Illinois: Students will volunteer with the Brother David Darst Center for Justice, Pace, Spirituality and Education while exploring the issues of justice and oppression, according to the website.

Los Angeles, California: This alternative break focuses on gender issues. Students will work with the Downtown Women’s Center and the Asian Pacific Women’s Center while exploring the issues of gender violence and other gender issues, according the website.

New York City, New York: Students will work with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the oldest organization in New York City dedicated to fighting AIDS. Participants on this trip can expect to be assisting in GMHC in many ways, according to the website.

Nogales, Arizona: Participants will work with No More Deaths and Humane Borders to learn about the issue of immigration and participate in humanitarian projects.

Portland, Oregon: Volunteers learn about environmental justice and food insecurity while working with sustainable organizations, according to the website. Volunteers can expect to help out in community gardens and participate in public outreach.

Salt Lake City, Utah: Students will work with the International Rescue Committee focusing on serving refugees coming to the United States. The Slice website said students on this trip will gain a different perspective on the refugee population.

San Francisco, California: Students will look at the incarceration system. According to the website, participants will tour historic prisons in the area and work with groups like The Beat Within and Justice Now to do direct service.

Building

New Orleans, Louisiana: Students will work with the St. Bernard Project and help rebuild homes and complete other construction projects.

Collegian Reporter Sady Swanson can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan.