For the 18th year, Alternative Breaks (AB) at Illinois State University will send hundreds of students across the country to partner with local community agencies to aid in their missions of supporting and serving their communities. Each spring break students fill buses to embark on life-changing trips, not only for them but for the individuals they will work with.
Community partners like Jeff Shaw, who works at the Ashby House in Salina, Kansas, praised the work completed by ISU students during the recent Alternative Winter Breaks trip. Shaw shared, “I can’t express enough what an amazing group of students came for this trip. Every single student was hard working, mature, inquisitive, flexible, fun, and they had fantastic attitudes. They were amazing representatives for Illinois State University.”
Illinois State University is proud to send five more groups of students to the following communities this March:
- Paradise, TX: Camp Summit, providing a summer camp experience for people with disabilities ages 8-80
- Sacramento, CA: GRID alternatives, installing solar panels in low-income neighborhoods
- Paragould, AR: Crowley’s Ridge State Park, restoring nature trails and working on beautification projects
- St. Louis, MO: Living Lands and Waters, cleaning up the Mississippi river
- New Orleans, LA: Junior Achievement, working in schools on financial literacy
Emily Pete, student director of Alternative Breaks, and hundreds other students use their spring break to give to others, and many do so year after year. Pete will be participating in her sixth Alternative Breaks trip this spring break.
“The experience opened my eyes to the different ways I could help people,” Pete said. “I was originally going to school to be a teacher; after my first AB trip I changed my major to Social Work after learning about the work Habitat for Humanity and other social services agencies do.”
This year, Alternative Breaks is connecting with alumni in the communities they are visiting. Stephanie Duquenne, Director of Alumni Relations, shares, “Alumni in various regions are beginning to get involved in the service trips in 2018. The connection between the work the students are doing in the areas that our Illinois State University alumni reside allows for the alumni to see the value of civic engagement at work and help support ASB in their mission. This also allows for students to gain valuable networking opportunities along with their service work.”
Pete describes Alternative Breaks as experiences that “give students a unique opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and take a foot on the ground approach to service.” Students should have the opportunity to experience this type of trip, regardless of their financial situation. Thanks to the generous support of alumni and friends to the Alternative Breaks Support Fund, students are able to apply for partial fee waivers each year. To help ensure that all students have this opportunity, make a gift to the Alternative Breaks Support Fund. Follow the Alternative Spring Breaks trips on social media and watch for information on a special Alumni Alternative Breaks opportunity this summer.