– March 28th, 2014 by Carly Stevens –
Alternative spring break banner

Lending helpful hand while soaking up the rays

“Helping others is the best gift you could ever give,” stated senior Shannen Hartmann, who was one of the many Colby-Sawyer students to go on the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) to Miami, F.L. this past month.

For one week, Parent and Community Partnership Coordinator and Advisor of the Community Service Club, Julie Crisafi Lynch traveled with 14 students for a community service based trip.

Unlike a typical spring break, ASB encourages students to fundraise, raise awareness for a cause and partake in a weeklong direct service project. The group strived to complete the ultimate goal: help better the lives of others.

Lynch explained, “ASB gives students the ability to see full circle how their work can directly impact the lives of others. The importance of caring about everyone in any community as an act of humanitarianism – not just in helping those in their direct community or those they know well.”

Last year, the Community Service Club traveled to Coney Island, N.Y. to lend a hand in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. This year, the team partnered with Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade. The program aims to preserve and revitalize houses and communities for those in need, especially the elderly and disabled. Colby-Sawyer students assisted in renovating the home of three elderly men, two of them disabled.

Hartmann illustrated, “We went in and gutted it. We ripped up the carpet, threw out old furniture, redid the ceilings, painted the walls, demolished a shed and painted the exterior of the house.”

Rather than using spring break as a time to relax, the ASB offers students the opportunity to learn more about community service. Senior Briana Alexander expressed, “The benefits of the program are that we get the opportunity to meet new people we may have never met before, help the less fortunate and travel to places we’ve never been.”

Junior Ellen Graham added, “ It was wonderful and heart warming to see the look of gratitude on the homeowners faces when we completed our project.”

While being a resource to the Miami community, students also had the chance to work and bond together.

Lynch observed, “It gives them an opportunity to connect outside of the typical college environment and develop friendships that will last well beyond that one week in March. The best part was seeing the compassion and drive of these students to really make a difference and have an impact on people that they didn’t even know before the week began.”

For those interested in broadening their horizons, ASB is a great opportunity. Further information about this program and other Community Service Club activities can be found at http://www.colby-sawyer.edu/currents/masonlaw.html.



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