Every year, hard-working students across the United States count down the hours and days until the month of March which brings with it a much needed break from classes. Some students leverage Spring Break for rest, relaxation and last minute studying before looming midterm examinations. While more stereotypical Spring Breakers travel to exotic destinations to blow off steam and have some fun. However, there is another movement called Alternative Spring Break, or ASB, that is growing in momentum with thousands of college students.
Alternative Spring Break programs tend to run a week in duration, allowing students an intense immersion experience in volunteering. Participants gain new skills, make new friends, learn about important community issues and importantly feel a sense of accomplishment by giving back. Alternative Spring Break got the name because it was viewed as the opposite of the more traditional Spring Break opportunity. Today, student’s sign-up for a variety of reasons including a desire to take action on social issues, gain a fun an exciting new experience, build skills for their resumes, and to network with other young leaders.
United Way got involved in Alternative Spring Break’s after hurricanes Rita and Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast area in 2006 and 2007. Young people across America watched the news and reached out to make a difference. Every year since, United Way has continued to work with its corporate, community and nonprofit partners to help create opportunities for student volunteering through Alternative Spring Break, in the Gulf Coast and communities across the nation. Stay tuned for United Way Alternative Spring Break action in the coming weeks as students put down their laptops and text books in order to lend a hand.
Here are some highlights:
Atlanta, Georgia - Deloitte has a long history of support to United Way through skill-based volunteering, pro bono service, board leadership as well as an award-winning employee giving campaign. Deloitte added to this list in 2008, an innovative partnership with United Way that helps to identify high potential employees and engage college students in volunteering. Starting March 10 to March 16, Fifty-three students will join Deloitte and United Way in the fifth Maximum Impact: Alternative Spring Break. The week-long program will include volunteer projects that aim to impact early childhood education and high school graduation rates. Learn more by reading Deloitte’s press release, by viewing the promotional video or by following the action on Deloitte’s Twitter @DeloitteUS.
Biloxi, Mississippi - United Way National Alternative Spring Break will again be held in Biloxi, MS where students will volunteer on a number of projects to help further the restoration of the Gulf Coast region. 68 young people from 23 states, representing 30 colleges and universities will trade a spring break with tank tops and beaches for tool belts and boots! These students will donate over 4000 hours of volunteer time to the Mississippi Gulf Coast by attending the 2012 National ASB! Participants will arrive here on March 11th and depart on the 17th. Learn more here.
Newark, New Jersey and Tucson, Arizona - Students have already begun volunteering in Newark, NJ and Tucson, AZ as they kick off a month of volunteering. Projects focus on advancing education, by helping children with homework, conducting facilities improvements at Boys' & Girls' Clubs and delivering new programming in the areas of arts & crafts, science, and cooking. Find out more about each program at their respective blogs ASB Newark and ASB Tucson. Students may still register for the end of the month programming at either location by going to the following links: sign-up ASB Newark or sign-up ASB Tucson.
Your Community - It’s not too late to organize an Alternative Spring Break in your community or to volunteer during your time-off. Contact United Way in a community near you to learn about potential volunteer opportunities. Tell us what you have planned for ASB by posting messages and pictures on Twitter @live_united #unitedwayasb