While some of their friends may spend spring break relaxing at home or taking in the fun and sun in Florida or the Caribbean, two groups of Plymouth State University students will be making a difference in the lives of children and adolescents across the country. Alternative Spring Break, organized by PSU’s Community Service Learning Center, will send students to Gallup, New Mexico and St. Louis, Missouri to volunteer at area schools and agencies. Each trip includes 5-7 PSU students, along with a faculty/staff advisor.
Childhood studies major Amy Ciaraldi and PSU ski team coach Kim Bownes will lead the trip to New Mexico, where students will work with Native American youngsters at two organizations, Car 66 and Ft. Wingate School. Students will do volunteer gardening and painting work, and help students with resume-writing and other career preparation tasks.
Katie Saraiva, also a childhood studies major, and Hartman Union Building program assistant Deb Cole will lead the trip to St. Louis, where students will provide tutoring services and help with recreational activities to children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders, through Epworth Child and Family Services.
According to Saraiva, volunteer trips provide students with the opportunity to make a difference to children, families and communities in need throughout the country. At the same time, students gain valuable skills in leadership and teamwork.
“These trips really make students feel like they are helping people,” said Saraiva. “Doing the smallest thing can make a big difference.”
The Community Service Learning Center at PSU is dedicated to serving the community and living up to the University’s motto, Ut Prosim, (“That I may serve”) by connecting students, faculty and staff with service opportunities in Plymouth and surrounding communities. Through service, the center hopes to raise awareness of local, national, and international social concerns. For more information about Alternative Spring Break, please contact the Community Service Learning Center at (603) 535-3026 or visit the center’s Web page, www.plymouth.edu/hub/cslc/