One way institutions of higher education across the nation are developing lifelong active citizens is through hosting Alternative Break programs. Break Away is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the development of quality alternative programs by providing training and information to colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations interested in creating lifelong active citizens. According to their latest study, over 17,000 students contributed nearly 625,000 hours of service to communities through Alternative Break programs in 2012 alone.
For me, my college Alternative Break experience had a lasting effect on me. Through meaningful service, education and awareness, and reflection, I was inspired to dedicate my life to giving back and being an active member in my community. While in college, I was involved in our campus’s Alternative Spring Break programs. Each trip introduced me to a new social issue; enabled me to play a role in addressing an important community need; and allowed me gain new skills, new and different perspectives, make lasting friendships, and lifelong memories.
My junior year, I traveled to Nashville, TN and volunteered with the United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee. During this trip, my team was tasked with building wheelchair ramps for individuals who could not afford to ensure their homes were accessible. I will never forget the look on the faces of the individuals and families who were able to safely access their homes for the first time – a task many of us may take for granted. It was this trip that inspired to join AmeriCorps where I dedicated the next two years of my life to serving others and the community.
As you plan your campus’s Alternative Break programs, consider applying for an Indiana Campus Compact 2012-2013 Alternative Break Institutional Plunge (ABIP) grant. We are able to grant up to $750 to member campuses to offset costs. No cash match is required. Grant applications must be submitted at least two months prior to the scheduled weekend alternative break plunge experience. Programs are required to involve participants from at least one additional campus in the service area. Indiana Campus Compact is not able to accept ABIP applications after March 31, 2013.
Showcase your plunge program model with students, faculty, and staff from another Indiana Campus Compact member campus while you work together to address a community need. Working with others from your region will expand your knowledge base, both of the community you’re serving and of your colleagues’ work. Click here to learn more.