Eastern Michigan University sponsors more than 75 students for Alternative Spring Break 2010

by Debra Johnson, Published February 22, 2010


Eastern Michigan University sponsors more than 75 students for Alternative Spring Break 2010

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University will send more than 75 students to nine locations across the nation in the 18th year of its participation in Alternative Spring Break. ASB is part of EMU's VISION (Volunteers Incorporating Service Into Our Neighborhoods) initiative. The ASB program allows students to voluntarily trade their spring break "week off" to make a difference in various communities. This year's break is March 1-7.

Eastern's ASB student volunteers will travel to locations as disparate as Indianapolis, Ind., Kissimmee, Fla. and New Orleans, La. to undertake projects ranging from rebuilding houses to clearing trails, volunteering at food banks, and working at a shelter for rescued animals.

For the first time in 2010, Eastern's ASB contingent will include a student who is a wheelchair user. "A lot of the service projects require physical labor, and the living conditions are not always accessible, so it's been difficult to include students with disabilities," said Peggy Harless, assistant director of Diversity and Community Involvement. "This year, we had a project in Nashville that we knew would be accessible, so we were able to overcome the logistical obstacles and include this student. We're excited to be able to expand ASB to students with disabilities."

Details on this year's locations:

Location: Nashville, TN
Organization: Book ’em
EMU Student Participants: 6
Description: Serve as reading role models in area pre-schools and elementary schools, along with some general maintenance.

Location: Crossville, TN
Organization: Cumberland Trail Conference
EMU Student Participants: 9
Description: Hiking; using fire rakes to clear trail tread; mattocks to make sidehill cuts; loppers, clippers and handsaws to clear limbs; rock work to build steps; carpentry work to build footbridges; installing waterbars; painting blazes to mark trail corridor, trash removal.

Location: Indianapolis, IN
Organization: Damar Services-Children with Autism and Behavioral Problems
EMU Student Participants: 10
Description: Maintenance work, working with children from preschool to adolescents with Autism and behavioral problems during free time, sorting through prom dresses, painting the pool.

Location: Kissimmee, FL
Organization: Give Kids the World
EMU Student Participants: 8
Description: Working with children and families, helping run facilities where the children and families stay.

Location: New Orleans, LA
Organization: Lower Nine
EMU Student Participants: 9
Description: Hurricane Katrina Relief, rebuilding of houses, maintenance, etc.

Location: Bay St. Louis, MS
Organization: Hope Haven of Hancock County
EMU Student Participants: 10
Description: Maintenance, gardening, interaction with children, landscaping, mentoring children, arts and crafts projects, etc.

Location: Spartanburg, SC
Organization: South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind
EMU Student Participants: 9
Description: Classroom volunteers helping students.

Location: Richmond, VA
Organization: Central Virginia Food Bank
EMU Student Participants: 9
Description: Working in food bank distributing food to local area population.

Location: Zolfo Springs, FL
Organization: Peace River Refuge and Ranch
Description of Service: Students are working in animal sanctuary’s rebuilding and cleaning after winter.

For more information about Alternative Spring Break, contact Peggy Harless, mharless@emich.edu. To participate in VISION programs, contact Jasmina Camo, jcamo@emich.edu.

Debra Johnson

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