Students to travel across country, abroad for alternative Breaks

More than 200 students are getting ready to spend their Spring Break serving others, some as close as Marathon, FL, and others as far as Ometepe, Nicaragua, as part of FIU’s largest, award-winning service learning program, alternative Breaks (aB). We’ll be following their adventures via Instagram and Twitter (#FIUaB) and sharing them on FIU News throughout the week.

Student site leaders meet before heading off on service missions around the world.

Student site leaders meet before heading off on service missions around the world.

One of the groups will travel to Washington, D.C., to work with the National Coalition for the Homeless, an organization dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness. Three groups are heading to the Dominican Republic, where FIU students will work with disadvantaged children and the poor through organizations Fundación Mir and Global Communities Engage. A total of five groups, one of the largest contingencies in aB’s 17-year history, will travel to Nicaragua to work on several projects that range from health advocacy to water conservation.

“This program not only exposes students to diverse communities and social issues, but it is also an opportunity to give a part of themselves through their volunteer work,” said Patty Lopez-Guerrero, associate director of the Center for Leadership and Service. “We expanded alternative Breaks to a year-round model to offer students that were not able to spend an entire week away in the spring a chance to have this experience.”

The spring session of aB is one of four year-round service trips offered by the Student Affairs’ Center for Leadership and Service. The summer, fall, and winter sessions range from 3 days to 2 weeks and are open to all FIU students. This academic year, aB will host more than 400 students within 37 service sites, 14 of which are international locations.

“I’m going to South Africa this summer,” said Dontay Proctor-Wills, a student member of aB’s executive board. “My first experience with aB was working with the Center for Homelessness in South Bend, Ind., and it made me realize that one person can’t change the world, but you can change the whole world of one person through service.”

Students begin their spring aB journeys on Saturday, March 9. FIU News will travel to Nicaragua to chronicle the journey of nearly 50 students, many of whom are traveling abroad for the first time.

Spring aB Partner Organizations:

Fundacion Mir – Dominican Republic

Global Communities Engage – Dominican Republic

Osa Peninsula – Costa Rica

TECHO – Honduras

Panorama Service Expeditions – Nicaragua

International Children’s Outreach – Guyana

Once a Upon a Time – Maryville, TN

Camp Boggy Creek – Eustis, FL

National Coalition for the Homeless – Washington, D.C.

Habitat for Humanity – Fort Myers, FL

South Appalachian Labor School – Kincaid, WV

Catalina Conservatory – Los Angeles, CA

Camp Heartland – Minneapolis, MN

Association House of Chicago – Chicago, IL

Marathon Bird Sanctuary – Marathon, FL

Medici Project – Atlanta, GA