By Zoe Hawryluk
Close your eyes and imagine Spring Break 2017. What do you see? You might imagine partying on the beach, a lavish trip to Europe, or a cruise to an exotic island.
But there’s something missing.
While parties and trips are fun, they can leave you with an empty feeling. As a Boston University student, you have the opportunity of a lifetime at your fingertip. You can use Spring Break to make a difference in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico with your friends. Register or learn more!
Alternative Service Breaks offers plenty of trips, but a special handful deserves extra recognition. Don’t neglect these trips, they offer incredible and enriching experiences.
Nashville, Tennessee with Kirstie Turnbull and Katie Ward
You’ll be working with United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee, where you’ll build wheelchair ramps and participate in their sports league.
According to Kirstie, “I think working with people of differing abilities is one of the most fun and enjoyable types of service. I’m looking forward to building wheelchair ramps because we’re going to be making a positive change in peoples’ lives in a very visible way. I know it will be very satisfying. I’m also excited to play with power tools.”
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to working with folks who are differently abled. “A lot of people get nervous because they are scared of behaving the ‘wrong’ way or doing the ‘wrong’ thing,” Kirstie said. “Anyone who comes on this trip will realize there is nothing to be afraid of, it’ll be fun.”
You’ll also experience what Nashville has to offer, outside of service. Volunteers will be immersed in true southern culture. There will be line dancing and visits to Centennial Park and the Opry. Kirstie and Katie are really excited to try hot chicken, a dining staple exclusive to the South and impossible to recreate.
Louisville, Kentucky with Akshat Mehta and Julia Hacker
Homelessness and Housing
If you want to experience southern culture, but are more interested in homelessness and housing, then think about Louisville, Kentucky! You’ll work with Hand in Hand Ministries, a community partner dedicated to housing, education, healthcare, and urban immersion.
While past ASB trips focused on Hand in Hand programs abroad, local programs in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky have started! “We will be the second group to participate in their urban immersion program,” said Julia. The trip focuses on home repair and community outreach.
“We are so excited about how direct our service will be, and how closely we’llexperience the culture of Louisville,” said Akshat. If you go to Louisville, you’ll work with local artists, food pantries, youth gardens and the Boys and Girls club.
Whenever you aren’t participating in service, you’ll tour Louisville’s attractions and restaurants. “We’re going to some really fun places like Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby,” Julia said. “We’ll also visit the Slugger Museum to see how baseball bats are produced, and we have a bunch of great restaurants lined up on the 4th St. Live strip.”
Akshat and Julia are excited to build a strong relationship with Hand in Hand Ministries, as well as further their cause of urban immersion in Louisville – and they need your help!
Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Gabbi Carpinella and Victoria Chaney
Is working with people not your thing? Then check out the trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Gabbi Carpinella and Victoria Chaney will take you through Chicago (for some deep dish pizza, of course) all the way to the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, where you’ll promote education about urban ecology awareness and sustainability.
“This trip is an opportunity to make knowledge about the environment, biodiversity, and sustainable living more public while also serving the needs of the center,” Victoria said. “The Milwaukee climate makes for harsh winters, but getting outdoors and taking an interest in ecology can and should happen at any time of year.”
In Milwaukee you’ll work on maintenance for the facilities. You’ll paint, create an educational tool for their outreach programs, and maybe even shadow one of their environmental education classes! You’ll have some time to explore the city, as well.
“Most people don’t know that Milwaukee is the most segregated city in the country. I plan to focus on how different races work with and around each other throughout the city,” said Gabbi.
“We’re excited to learn, serve, and grow with volunteers in a different and unique region of the US,” Victoria said.
Gabbi hopes to expand her understanding of modern city segregation, and how the Urban Ecology Center attempts to break racial divides. “For someone like me who has never been to the Midwest, this is a very exciting experience and I’m looking forward to seeing how different it can be from New England,” she said.
The coordinators hope to explore our world with volunteers. No matter the trip you choose, you’ll learn about the daily lives and mindsets of people outside the BU bubble. It’s an opportunity many college students will never have.
So what are you waiting for?