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Alternative Spring Vacations Give Others a Break

The iconic March recess linked to beaches and sun certainly gives many students a break. But, some Oswego students offer a break to someone else during their spring vacation.

Alternative BreakAlternative Spring Breaks are opportunities for students to travel and volunteer at the same time. The trips are both international and domestic and give students tasks to complete in order to help the communities they are visiting.

Scott Ball '11, who works with the Mentor-Scholar program through AmeriCorps, has also gone on many alternative break trips. His most recent trip was to Bridgeton, N.J., where he worked with pre-kindergarteners in a Head Start program. "I will admit, I was skeptical as to how difficult it could be to work with young students, but it opened my eyes to the pre-K field, and how truly demanding it can be," he said.

Lexie Avery '14 volunteered with the Operation Southern Comfort, which rebuilds the homes of Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans.

"Even in one day we were able to finish one wall, that's one more wall than they were able to do themselves. We made such an incredible difference in these people's lives, they genuinely care for us and were incredibly grateful," Avery said. "They gave me more than I gave them."

Sophie Marsden '13 who's gone on two spring trips to Alabama with Habitat for Humanity said that her favorite part of the trips was meeting different people. "Honestly, I chose Alabama the first time because I assumed it would be warm there, however, I came back a second time because of the warm hospitality, the great people, and the Southern food," she said.

Students learn a lot through the tasks they do and they also learn a lot about themselves and each other.

"I did not know any of my other volunteers before our initial meetings so besides a few quick meetings these people were complete strangers. By the end of the trip I was sharing jokes and experiences with them like we had been friends for years, and we still do." Ball said. "Making new friends and sharing in the experience of doing service for a good cause is what makes these trips so special."

This year's spring break sites include:

• Outreach360 in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic
• Habitat for Humanity in Waterloo, Iowa; Florence, Ala.; and Meridian, Miss.
• Head Start in Bridgeton, N.J.
• Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, N.C.

Applications for Alternative Spring Break trips in March 2013 are due Nov. 16.

Casey Croucher '13

Sophie Marsden '13, middle, has gone on two Alternative Spring Break trips to Alabama with Habitat for Humanity.


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