Indiana State students head south

March 10 2008

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- A group of 36 Indiana State University students headed south for Spring Break this year, but they aren’t going to the beach. Instead, they will roll up their sleeves and perform community service March 9-15.

Some students headed back to Biloxi/GulfPort, Miss. area to continue Hurricane Katrina relief work while others departed for Atlanta to work with refugees through Refugee Family Services. The Atlanta-bound students will perform a variety of activities such as working with children in the group’s after-school program. Five staff members also made the trip.

At Indiana State, students can receive credit for their participation in the spring break program by enrolling in RCSM 485 - Community Development in Nonprofit Organizations.

While the college credit is nice, students get more than that out of the experience.

Lisa Nepote, a sophomore elementary education major from Clinton, is a first year participant of Alternative Spring Break. Nepote is working with children through Atlanta’s Refugee Family Services.

“I have always loved children and thought it would be an excellent opportunity for me to get out of the house over Spring Break and make a difference,” she said.

In addition to making a difference, the experience fits into her future career plans.

“We will be working with children in an after-school program, and I'm sure the diversity and first-hand English as a New Language experience that I will gain by working with them is something that could not be matched in a classroom practicum. This is what I want to do with the rest of my life, so this trip is more than just a service project for me,” Nepote said.

Alternative Spring Break veteran Crystal Brown, a graduate student from Terre Haute, is a firm believer in the program and has witnessed the progress being made along the Gulf Coast, where she will participate in rebuilding efforts this week.

“Each year has been a unique experience,” she said. “In 2006 I was able to see first hand just how bad things were down south and not only help in the Gulfport area, but also New Orleans. A year later, I was able to see the progress of rebuilding efforts. I also had the opportunity to travel to Enterprise, AL to assist with the clean-up from the deadly tornados.”

“I keep coming back because I love getting the opportunity to do service projects and help others,” Brown added.

Brown would recommend the experience to others.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to gain a variety of experiences through meeting other students, providing service to communities throughout the country, and gaining a new prospective on life,” she said.

For more information on ISU’s Alternative Spring Break, go to http://www1.indstate.edu/publicservice/students/asb.htm . To view photos and read the blog from the trip, go to http://blogs.indstate.edu/~wpmu/springbreak/ .

PHOTO CAPTION: Crystal Brown helped gut a home during Indiana State's 2007 Alternative Spring Break trip. She is currently working in the Biloxi/Gulfport area, assisting in the rebuilding efforts.

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Contact: Nancy Rogers, Center for Public Service and Community Engagement, (812) 237-2474 or nancyrogers@indstate.edu

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

A group of 36 Indiana State University students headed south for Spring Break this year, but they aren't going to the beach. Instead, they will roll up their sleeves and perform community service March 9-15.

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