Tales from Spring Break
March 25, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. historical site (above) before
getting to work in Atlanta.
Thirty-seven students and two faculty members spent last week
in Atlanta, where they took part in an array of service projects.
One group of students spent a day cleaning and organizing a
home that was recently flooded.
Not all college students spend their Spring Breaks soaking up the Florida sun. For some, the hiatus from classes and stress is used for another form of enjoyment—serving others.
During this year’s Spring Break, 37 Centre College students and two staff members devoted their holiday to service. Taking part in the 2010 Alternative Spring Break, the group traveled to Atlanta as volunteers with Community Collaborations International (CCI), a non-profit agency whose mission is “to place volunteers where they are needed most and provide a safe and fulfilling volunteer experience.”
CCI selected Atlanta as the city most in need of Centre’s help, and the College’s volunteers gladly accepted the challenge.
The service took place within 30 miles of Atlanta, Georgia, with most of the work within 10 miles of the city, says Kate Wintuska ’13 of Alvaton, Ky.
Wintuska, who organized Alternative Spring Break with Emmy Robichuad ’13 of Lexington, Ky., continues, “Atlanta suffered the effects of extreme flooding—more than 5,000 families lost their homes and possessions to the 2008 hurricane systems. With only 10 percent of Atlanta families having flood insurance, homelessness and poverty issues in the area have dramatically increased.”
Because of these issues, many of the Centre students spent their days helping with the flooding problems. Others were engaged in a wide variety of other service projects, from painting to assisting with a clean environment project to spending time with children in the area.
“Whatever we were doing, it was part of a great week of service, community and fun,” Wintuska says.
The idea for the trip came about this CentreTerm, when Wintuska says she and Robichaud “saw an opportunity to share our love for service and to form more meaningful relationships with some of our peers.”
“Community Collaborations International was gracious enough to extend their deadlines and open 39 spots for Centre College,” Wintuska says. “Emmy and I were told to expect five to 10 people to reserve spots on the trip, so naturally we were in shock when 37 students committed to going.”
Like Wintuska, Robichaud was thrilled by the number of students who volunteered for the week of service, and she was excited to see the results of their efforts.
“As students at Centre, we aren't strangers to helping others,” she says. “But while the majority of Centre students do some kind of volunteer work, it’s often on an individual or small-group level. I was looking forward to witnessing the impact that the students will have when we come together with a common goal.”
The trip was made possible through funds from the Student Government Association.
“We were blessed to receive $8,300 in funding from SGA in February,” Wintuska says. “Without this financial support, the trip wouldn’t have been possible.”
While working in Atlanta, the group shared their stories on an ASB blog. From photos to inspiring stories of service, the blog allows readers to learn more about the work in which the volunteers were engaged—and about how their experiences changed their beliefs about service and community.
“Centre students have tremendous motivation and a strong desire to make a positive impact on the world,” Robichaud says. “Our hope is that having returned from the trip, the students have realized the universal nature of the work we've done and will be inspired to continue the service in our campus and community.”