Give back to community on service trips
November 10, 2009
In recent years, college students have increasingly spent the week of spring break not indulging in personal pleasures, but volunteering for a variety of causes all over the world. The College of William and Mary’s Office of Community Engagement and Scholarship has been a part of this new tradition, with its Branch Out programs transporting students to projects regionally, nationally and internationally.
However, other service opportunities are available for those students who wish to volunteer outside of the College’s programs, especially since deadlines for international trips have already passed. Whether one is interested in working with children, saving endangered animals or building a house from scratch, there are plenty of programs to suit any interest. Spring break can be an opportunity to serve a community, locally or globally.
*Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge*
Part of the nationally-recognized, non-profit organization, the Collegiate Challenge has taken students all over the United States into an alternative break program for the last 20 years. During the College’s spring break, week-long programs are offered all over the country with local Habitat for Humanity groups. Cost: $125. Online registration at Habitat.org.
With its “Short Term Quests,” United Planet offers programs around the world with a variety of initiatives such as social work, tutoring English, working in an orphanage, and helping the elderly. Programs are offered in countries such as Cambodia, Ghana, Guatemala, Jordan and Nepal, allowing students to enjoy foreign cultures by staying with host families while helping the local communities. Cost: $725. Online registration at Unitedplanet.org.
With a large diversity of programs in countries around the world, i-to-i has promoted life-changing travel by providing service trips to students for the last 15 years. Service opportunities range from environmental protection, to building communities. Costs vary depending on the location and the duration of the trip. See I-to-i.com for more information.
*United Way Alternative Spring Break Sponsored by Deloitte*
United Way is sponsoring an alternative spring break program for students interested in rebuilding Biloxi, Miss attacked by Hurricane Katrina. Other programs involving Student United Way groups will travel to locations in New Orleans, the Pacific Northwest and urban cities. Online application at Liveunited.org.
*Global Citizens Network*
Global Citizens Network seeks to unite volunteers with indigenous communities in foreign countries and the United States. Planned programs during the College’s spring break include two-week trips to Mexico, Thailand and Guatemala. Interested volunteers are encouraged to create their own service trips with the aid of GCN. Costs vary. Online application at Globalcitizens.org.