Find and Support Your Local United Way


Alternative Spring Break

Trade your beach towel for a tool belt this spring break. Take part in United Way’s Alternative Spring Break and work with other students to improve communities around the nation.

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Since ASB began in 2006, we’ve had

3,500students participate

“They‘ve lit a fire in me and there’s no telling where this is going to go from here.”

112,000hours of volunteer service completed

“We didn’t give up our spring break. We took advantage of it.”

2015 Projects

  • El Paso, TX — March 8-14: Work with the Lower Valley Housing Corporation to help build homes for low-income El Paso families. El Paso, with its friendly, welcoming people, is ranked as the safest city in the United States, yet also is home to some of the poorest ZIP codes in the country with many families living in sub-standard housing conditions. In addition to building houses, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the borderland through guided tours, agency visits, and volunteer opportunities. Cost: $250. Reserve your spot here.
  • Biloxi, MS — March 22-28: Come experience the hospitality of the South and spend your spring break in a place United Way's ASB program has been committed for 10 years. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is home to the world’s longest man-made beach and overlooks the Gulf of Mexico for 62 miles.  Spend your days in service to  local communities as you explore United Way's community impact strategies and collaborate with students from around the country. Then, spend your nights just a block from the beach! Come celebrate recovery and resilience with the communities and people of the Gulf Coast as they prepare to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Due to the generosity of a supporter, 20 students will be able to participate in this opportunity for just the cost of their transportation to and from Gulfport/Biloxi. Cost: Free. Selected students are responsible for transportation to and from Gulfport/Biloxi. Reserve your spot here. Questions? Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • Williamson County, TN — March 16-20: Focus on health and food security. While staying in rural Williamson County, you'll spend days building a community garden. As a team, you'll work on design, layout, tilling and more. You'll also get to work with community families for whom English is not the primary language to help educate participants about the garden, how to preserve fresh foods, ways to cook with fresh herbs, and more. Additional projects include working with children and doing building and repair work. Ground transportation provided to and from the Nashville airport and bus terminal. Cost: $300. Reserve your spot here.


In all Break a Difference programs, participants have a choice of the following weeks: March 1-7; March 8-14; March 15-21; or March 22-28. Cost: $395 per participant. Have a group? Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Reserve your spot here.

  • Baltimore, MD: Work to reduce homelessness by understanding poverty and increasing access to supportive services. ASB participants will staff food banks, upgrade transitional housing facilities and help maintain shelters.
  • Washington, DC: Help with homework, create arts and crafts programs and lead athletic activities at after-school sites. You’ll also get a chance to visit the Capitol and national monuments.
  • New York City, NY: Help out at various agencies dedicated to preventing homelessness and reducing poverty. Get out of New York’s touristy areas and explore a bit of what it takes to make ends meet in the nation’s largest city.
  • Newark, NJ: Facebook founder, Mark Zucherberg and other philanthropists have dedicated millions of dollars to transform the educational experience for Newark youth. ASB participants will provide enrichment services in after-school computer labs, arts and crafts, homework help and physical education programming. You’ll also get a taste of the Big Apple with a ferry ride to New York City.
  • Jersey Shore, NJ: More than two years after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore, hundreds of families are still displaced. Led by trained site supervisors, ASB participants will perform basic construction such as hanging drywall, insulating and painting homes to help families return home. You’ll also get a taste of the Big Apple with a ferry ride to New York City.
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL: Affluent children hear 30,000,000 more words than their lower income peers by the time they are three years old. Help eliminate that gap by creating literacy kits, reading to children and giving playgrounds a make-over.
  • New Orleans, LA: Over the last decade, as New Orleans has rebuilt after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, an array of initiatives has developed not only to replace what was lost, but also to build some of the supports that didn't exist prior. ASB participants may help with urban gardens, youth development programs and environmental projects that help families keep more of their earnings while also reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Fort Worth, TX: Nearly 1 in 4 residents of Fort Worth lives in poverty. The tutoring, academic enrichment and coaching you’ll be doing through ASB won’t eliminate poverty in North Texas, but it will certainly provide another tool to help residents succeed. ASB participants will infuse new programs into the daily schedule at Boys and Girls Clubs.  [NOTE: During the week of March 8-14, ASBers will help operate a full day camp every day as schools are closed for their Spring Break.]
  • Killeen/Fort Hood, TX: The world’s largest military base is the core of this Central Texas community. Military service impacts families in unique ways. This ASB will focus not only on providing direct services to military-connected children, but also on increasing volunteers’ understandings of the challenges and benefits military service provides to families. [NOTE: During the week of March 15-21, ASBers will help operate a full day camp every day as schools are closed for their Spring Break.]
  • Tucson, AZ: Six Boys and Girls Clubs serve the diverse populations that make up Tucson, including one on the Pasque Yaqui reservation. ASB participants will infuse enriched programming into each of these clubs to promote positive youth development. You’ll also get the chance to hike and visit Tucson’s historic downtown.  [NOTE: During the week of March 15-21, ASBers will help operate a full day camp every day as schools are closed for their Spring Break.]
  • San Diego, CA: ASB participants will focus on environmental and human service initiatives to provide the basic building blocks for a good life. With 1 in 3 San Diego households earning too little to make ends meet, volunteers have the potential to have an incredible impact.
  • San Francisco, CA: Beyond the Golden Gate Bridge and Union Square, the Bay Area boasts a series of rich, diverse communities. Youth development activities led by ASB participants will enrich learning for youth. You’ll also get the chance to venture to the Pacific Coast and into San Francisco.
  • Seattle, WA: Work to meet basic needs in Seattle. Whether preventing homelessness or improving the quality of affordable child care, ASB participants will bolster the efforts of some of the Pacific Northwest’s strongest nonprofit organizations.


Can't wait until this spring to volunteer? Step into the sunny weather of Tucson, Arizona and volunteer with our partner organization, Break a Difference, for Alternative Winter Break this January!

  • Tucson, AZ — January 4-10: Help extend after-school programming at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson. Volunteers will work directly with educators and program staff to promote fitness, learning, and help with facility improvements. Cost: $395. Reserve your spot here.