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Center for Engagement and Community Development

News Features

Students Spend Breaks From School in an Alternative Fashion

K-State Engagement E-News, May 2009 (PDF)

by Jenny Barnes

The Phoenix, Ariz. alternative spring break team poses for a photo.

The Phoenix, Ariz. alternative spring break team poses for a photo.

Many college students spend their spring breaks in exotic party locations like Cancun or Panama City. However 23 K-State students chose to spend their time off from school serving others.

Alternative Spring Break is a program offered by the School of Leadership Studies that provides students with an opportunity to do service work during school breaks. The program was started approximately 15 years ago.

Kim Frazier is the assistant coordinator of the K-State Volunteer Center of Manhattan and helped put the trips together.

"Alternative Spring Break is a great opportunity for students looking for service in a new area," she said. "It is a way for K-Staters to experience new things and gain new perspectives on issues like gang violence and urban youth which we aren't always exposed to as much here in Manhattan."

This spring break the program offered three different sites for students to choose from. In Dallas, Tex., K-State students worked for the seventh consecutive year with AIDS Services of Dallas. They helped with an annual fundraising event and built a new fence at the housing site.

In Phoenix, Ariz., students worked with the Welcome Home Project, which is dedicated to helping break the cycle of poverty, abuse and homelessness. It is a program within the Save the Family Foundation. Students helped prepare two homes for homeless families to move into. This site was coordinated entirely by a K-State student.

In Chicago, Ill., students assisted urban youth at the James R. Jordan Boys and Girls Club. The students also served at the Greater Food Depository.

Leadership studies also offered an alternative option during winter break. Students visited Biloxi, Miss., where they worked with Habitat for Humanity on the Gulf Coast.

Frazier hopes the program will continue to grow in the future. For more information about participating in an alternative break contact the K-State Volunteer Center of Manhattan.