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April 19, 2013
By Taylor Neff, media relations assistant
To learn more about Northwest's 2013 Alternative Spring Break, click here to read the group's blog.
Twenty-two Northwest Missouri State University students participated in the 10th annual Alternative Spring Break trip March 25 through April 1 to New York City and volunteered their time helping others.
During the trip, the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) student organization served within four of the five New York City boroughs while volunteering with the Youth Services Opportunities Project. Students served at soup kitchens, clothing banks and food pantries.
The goal of ASB is to progressively improve the experience of true service-learning for Northwest students and successfully incorporate classroom learning in real world situations. Students witness difficult circumstances that place them outside their comfort zone and are given the chance to interact with new people and make a difference.
Amy Nally, Northwest’s director of volunteer, service learning and civic engagement leads the annual service trip. Students also were joined this year by Director Intercultural Affairs Steve Bryant, Student Development Specialist Brenda Johnson and Roberta Hall Director Elizabeth Stafford.
“The ASB program encourages active citizenship by providing service opportunities addressing issues within the community and providing support to our community partners,” Nally said. “ASB offers students the opportunity to attend trips with a site facilitator to experience a unique hands-on opportunity to make a difference in various communities and the lives of countless individuals.”
The emotional impact the ASB experience provides Northwest students is unattainable within a classroom setting.
“Before I went, I knew I wanted to go and get rid of the negative stereotype associated with homeless people,” Brooke Gillard, a psychology major from Grant City, said. “I was amazed at how grateful they all were. I think the most important thing is understanding that perspective and bringing their influence back home so we can share it.”
Nally reiterated the uniqueness of the trip and impression it leaves on students’ lives.
“Every year, students come back completely changed,” Nally said. “Students continue to want to learn about their societal issues within their own communities or better yet, helping our very own community of Maryville and surrounding areas. It’s definitely a life-changing experience and I am so grateful to be able to give Northwest students this opportunity and watch the changes happen within them.”
Past ASB trips have included working with Community Collaborations International in Niceville, Fla., where students worked to restore the coastal ecosystem affected by the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill. ASB students also have traveled to Greenville, S.C., where they mowed lawns and painted homes for residents. Third-year ASB participant Lindsay Brison noted differences between those and the New York trip.
“The previous trips were more physical work, and this one was more social and emotional,” Brison, an elementary education major from Papillion, Neb., said. “This year, there weren’t very grueling tasks to do. It was more interactive and greeting the people who visited our locations.”
New York was a suitable choice for this ASB trip because it has a homeless population of nearly 50,000, which Hurricane Sandy increased by 2,000.
Students stayed in Hostelling International to experience the culture of a shelter environment. After working 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day, they were allowed entertainment days on Sunday and Friday to explore New York.
For more information about Alternative Spring Break, contact Nally at 660.562.1954 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/studentaffairs/volunteer/asb/.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
email@example.com | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468