Alternative Spring Break 2010: Forgoing Fort Lauderdale to Serve the Common Good

Story posted March 10, 2010

One hundred students are leaving on eight Alternative Spring Break trips to volunteer in communities across the country and in Guatemala.

Alternative Spring Breaks, coordinated through the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, provide a unique opportunity for students to participate in an intensive public service experience while increasing their understanding of significant social and environmental problems.

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Images from Alternative Spring Break 2009.

Engaged in direct service relating to issues such as poverty, affordable housing, health and education, students live and work in communities with which they otherwise may have little contact.

This years trips include:

A Helping Hand in Immokalee, Fla.
Students spend a week working with and learning from the migrant workers of Immokalee, Fla., as they also tutor their children, serve them dinner at the Friendship House soup kitchen, and advocate for their fair and humane treatment.

Adventures in Appalachia
Volunteers explore an eastern Tennessee community through connections with the Cherokee Nation and service on social and environmental issues. They learn about sustainable agriculture practices, volunteer at a Cherokee preschool, take part in Cherokee National Forest trail maintenance, and connect with local community members.

Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good
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Check out the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good Web site, offering continuously updated content regarding community service opportunities, a schedule of events and other happenings.


Book It to the Bronx
Participants learn about urban education in New York City through hands-on experiences with a Bronx public school and Harlem Children's Zone. Students assist in classrooms, work with children and learn about multiple approaches to education.

Counting on College
Volunteers work with students in under-served rural and urban schools in South Carolina to remove barriers to higher education. *This trip is in partnership with the Education Department.

Discovering D.C.
Students work with organizations in Washington, D.C., to address issues of hunger and homelessness through direct service and advocacy. They volunteer in soup kitchens, learn directly from current and former homeless individuals, and meet with members of Maine's congressional delegation to discuss related legislation.

New Perspectives in New Mexico
Exploring issues of health education with a New Mexico Native American community through connections with local schools and hospitals, students plan fun activities with kids to teach them about health topics, visit a local hospital and learn about the health care system.

Providing Safe Passage in Guatemala
Students help break the cycle of poverty with Safe Passage, an organization that creates opportunities for Guatemala City's poorest children through the power of education. They assist Guatemalan teachers, meet the families that make their living off the Guatemala City dump, and learn about the legacy of Hanley Denning '92, who created Safe Passage to provide a quality education to the children of Guatemala City.

Urban Promise
Volunteers lend a hand at Urban Promise in Camden, N.J., while learning about issues of urban education. They work with children in classrooms and volunteer with the important school maintenance projects that help keep their operational costs low.

Alternative Spring Break students will gather for the McKeen Center's Perspectives dinner April 12, 2010, to share stories and photos, as well as to discuss how their service connects to their Bowdoin experience.

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