JMU’s Alternative Break program allows students to participate in service opportunities over Thanksgiving and Spring Break, going to different locations around the United States and abroad. Ben Adams and Jamie Simpkins both participated in JMU Alternative Spring Break this year. Check out what they had to say about their Alternative Spring Break experiences:
1.Where did you go?
2.Why did you decide to go on an ASB?
I decided to do an ASB because I love helping people. Service has been a big part of my life and I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend spring break. It’s a great way to learn about issues and other cultures.
3.Have you done this before? If so, when and where?
I went on an ASB last year to Louisville, Kentucky, where I worked with Catholic Charities teaching English to refugees.
4.What did you do during your break this year?
In the mornings, we worked in classrooms at the Head Start in Cherokee Nation. Head Start is an education-based program for at-risk children ages 6 weeks to five years old. In the afternoons, we did yard maintenance around the schools.
5.Any memorable moments from your break?
My most memorable moment was going bowling during one of our free nights. It was a great time of bowling, laughing, and dancing. We started a dance mob, and the employees of the bowling alley recorded us to put on their Facebook page.
6. Would you recommend this to other JMU students? If so, why?
I would absolutely recommend Alternative Spring Breaks to other students. You really form genuine connections with people you might not have met otherwise at JMU. It also opens your mind about other cultures and issues that are going on in the world today.
8.Anything else you would like the Daily Duke to know?
Going on ASBs has been one of my favorite things I’ve done at JMU, it has really changed who I am as a person and left a lasting impact.
- Where did you go?
I went to Bartow, Florida. We stayed at First Baptist Church of Bartow and worked at 5 different East Coast Migrant Head Start sites in the area – a different one each day.
- Why did you decide to go on an ASB?
I have heard great things about the Alternative Spring Break Program here at JMU, and knew that I wanted to spend my Spring Break doing service, so I figured it was a good fit.
- Have you done this before? If so, when and where?
I have been on a weekend break through the Alternative Break Program before (I worked at a Special Olympics golf tournament in Virginia Beach back in November), but this was my first Spring Break trip.
- What did you do during your break?
Each day we went to a different site, and had lots of different projects. The outdoor work included spray painting things like Disney characters, hopscotch games or counting lines to assists teachers taking attendance. We also filled a sand box, set up small gardens and a few other things. We also worked in classrooms directly with the children. In the infant room we helped their teachers by playing with the kids, feeding them, and attempting to put them to sleep. With the toddlers, we played sports, read books and helped them practice their English.
- Any memorable moments from your break?
Wednesday of that week seemed like a great day for everyone. We bonded with the kids and teachers at our site, got a lot accomplished outside and we overall felt very good about the work we were doing and our group.
6. Will you partake in this again? If so, why and where would you like to go?
I absolutely want to! I think that I am going to apply to be a leader for a trip, probably my senior year. Also, our group is currently trying to present something to the Community Service Leadership office about returning to our site to work at the same sites.
If you would like to learn more about going on an Alternative Break, check it out here!