Alternative Spring Break
This past winter break, I went on a service trip with Alternative Spring Break.
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) “sends U of I students on nation-wide service trips four times throughout the year. During their fall, winter, spring, and summer breaks, ASB participants travel throughout the country to learn about and actively combat social injustice and environmental issues.” This past break, ASB sent trips to:
- Los Angeles, CA – HIV/AIDS
- El Paso, TX – Youth Poverty and Development
- Immokalee, FL – Migrant Farm Workers
- Homestead, FL – Environmental Concerns
- Kiln, Mississippi – Disabilities and Special Needs
- Washington D.C. – Hunger and Homelessness
- Kayenta, AZ – Native American Issues
- Stilwell, OK – Community Development and Cherokee Culture
- Kincaid, WV – Rural Poverty
My trip was to Greenville, SC, working with a group called Homes of Hope. We worked directly with men currently going through drug and alcohol rehabilitation to work on homes for those with health or economic difficulties. We worked on two houses that Homes of Hope was cleaning and preparing for new families. The houses had been emptied, but they were dirty, and one of them had a kitchen fire. Our task was to prime, paint, and clean each of the houses.
The first day we split up into two teams – we each took a house. The early tasks were some of the hardest as we learned how to tape, cut, and paint the walls correctly. After we got the hang of the work, though, we moved quickly and finished both of the houses within four days. On the fifth day we did clean up and helped re-build a mobile home that Homes of Hope was working on.
The last day we were there, the guys at Homes of Hope hosted a barbecue for us. It was a beautiful day weather-wise, and we even played some football with the guys. Our group photo is below.
This was certainly an experience that I will never forget as part of my college experience. Alternative Spring Break is an amazing organization — just one example of the many excellent RSOs on campus that do so much to help our students, the community, and the world.