Hamilton Students Take an “Alternative” Spring Break

Hamilton ASB volunteers in Hanover County, Va.
Hamilton ASB volunteers in Hanover County, Va.

While many of their counterparts hit beaches and ski slopes 102 Hamilton students are spending a week of their spring break volunteering at one of 10 nonprofit organizations for Alternative Spring Break (ASB), March 16-31.

This year marks Hamilton’s 20th ASB, an annual volunteer venture that consists of 10 different community service trips. Nine groups are heading south for week-long construction projects, direct service work with children or environmental service. A new trip this year has 10 students heading to New Jersey to help clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Five trips are taking place the first week of break, March 16-23.

Cumberland Trails, Soddy Daisy, Tenn.

In what has become an annual trip, Hamilton students returned to Tennessee to help build trails and do maintenance. The Cumberland Trail (CT), a Tennessee State Scenic Hiking Trail, became Tennessee’s 53rd state park in 1998.

Habitat for Humanity, Franklin, W.V. 

A group of 10 Hamilton students travelled to West Virginia to volunteer with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity in Franklin, where they’re helping to build a house for a family in need.

Habitat for Humanity, Meridian Miss.

Hamilton volunteers are working at Lauderdale County’s Habitat for Humanity in Meridian where they’re helping to build a house for a family in need. The area was affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Habitat for Humanity, Mechanicsville,Va.

The Hamilton students will work with Hanover Habitat for Humanity in Mechanicsville, where they’ll help build a house for a family in need. These students will dedicate their spring break to building a beautiful, affordable, energy efficient home in partnership with a deserving family and the Hanover County community.

Hurricane Sandy relief, Toms River, N.J.

Ten students are in the Toms River, N.J., area to help with Hurricane Sandy relief work. The Hamilton students are volunteering with Community Collaborations on projects that will include removing sand from buildings and homes, rebuilding dunes, improving trails and parks, after-school programs, and painting, among others.

Five ASB trips will take place during the second week of break, March 23-30.

YSOP, Washington, D.C.

For the third year, 10 Hamilton students are working with Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP) in shelters, soup kitchens, schools, food and clothing banks and other direct-service institutions. YSOP is committed to helping young people become part of the solution to societal problems by showing them how even their smallest actions can make a difference in the lives of others.

Habitat for Humanity, Marion County, S.C.

Hamilton students will return to work with Marion County HFH, a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. They’ll work on construction of a house for a needy family.

News coverage from The Marion Star & Mullins Enterprise.

Burgaw Elementary School, Wilmington, N.C.

Ten Hamilton students will return to work at Burgaw Elementary School near Wilmington, N.C. Through this annual outreach program, they’ll help students with homework and participate in after-school activities.

Land Between the Lakes, Golden Pond, Ky.

Land Between the Lakes is a 170,000-acre national recreation area in Western Kentucky and Tennessee located about 90 miles north of Nashville, Tenn., and just south of Paducah, Ky. Hamilton volunteers will help with the maintenance of an 1850s working farm, by doing repairs and building fences. They’ll also work to get the facilities up and running for the tourist season.

Chatham Habitat for Humanity, Pittsboro, N.C.

The students will work for the Chatham Habitat for Humanity in Pittsboro where they’ll help build a house for a family in need. Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity has worked to change substandard housing conditions throughout Chatham County by making homeownership possible for more than 100 families.

Hamilton’s ASB program was initially sponsored by the Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach and Charity (HAVOC), a student-run organization that provides community service in Oneida County. The Alternative Spring Break program was started in 1993 when 20 students traveled to Miami to work on Hurricane Andrew relief with Habitat for Humanity. In subsequent years, the number of participants has steadily increased.

ASB has now evolved into its own student organization with an executive board that runs the program with Hamilton’s COOP. The students are housed in churches, camps and refugee centers.


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