WASHINGTON—Scores of Howard University students begin rolling into Atlanta March 13 for their annual spring break, but these students won’t be there to party.
Instead, they have skipped the beach or the trip back home to help tutor elementary school students and to talk with other students on the importance of continuing their education after high school.
Their work there from March 15 to March 19 is part of the university’s annual Alternative Spring Break, in which every year hundreds of students volunteer to participate in the student-run, student financed program.
At other sites, San Diego native Christina Smith will be in Chicago a second year. She remembers vividly when it struck her how important it was that she be involved in Chicago rather than on a beach back home.
“We were talking to the students and one of them told me how his aunt owned a store in his neighborhood, but it was too dangerous for him to walk to the store and visit her,” Smith, 20, recalled.
“Other kids told us how they had to walk the long way back and forth to school because some areas on the way were too dangerous. And everybody could tell you a story about a friend or someone from their family who had been killed.
“I was really moved. I called my father in San Diego and he said he had never heard me so passionate about anything before.”
Monique Rochon, 20,of Bloomfield, Ind., is the site coordinator for New Orleans this year. She volunteered in New Orleans last year, but this year wanted to do more. Her job it is to plan every aspect of the trip to the Big Easy.
This year, the more than 80 students going to New Orleans will concentrate on securing the environment. They will plant tress, secure the coastline and clean up the city park. Another 40 students from the School of Law will help the city with its backlog of criminal and civil cases.
Denys Symonette of Orlando, Fla., is the student coordinator for Detroit. Her job is to arrange housing, food and transportation for the students and develop a week of community service programs for the students.
“For me personally, this is part of my spiritual journey, part of my faith as a Christian,” Symonette said. “If you’re a Christian, you help people.”
The students will be visiting a number of schools in the area and working with adults in rehabilitation at a Salvation Army facility.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ron Harris. Director of Communications. Office of University Communications. 202.683.0182 firstname.lastname@example.org