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Students Forego Typical Spring Break Vacation to Serve Others

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ About 65 students from the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh will provide service to others instead of taking a traditional spring break holiday when they travel to seven different locations to participate in various community service programs through the Alternative Spring Break Program March 10 - 17.

Students at work with Habitat for Humanity "Alternative Spring Break is a great experience for students," said Cori Matthews, director of the Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism and coordinator of the Alternative Break programs. "They get the opportunity to make new friends, gain service learning experience and interact in different communities,"

The program, which has been in place at the College since 1994, allows students the opportunity to help individuals in communities in the South and Northeast. Funding for the program comes from the annual Alternative Breaks Service Auction. With the help of Steve Brodi, of Bridge Street Auction Service, many items are auctioned off to benefit the Alternative Spring and Winter Break trips.

This year, some students will help build homes with Habitat for Humanity in Bridgeport, Conn., Greensboro, Ga., and Jackson, Tenn. Other students will travel to Bridgeton, N.J., and volunteer with the Headstart Program and work with at-risk pre-school children. In Mt. Rogers, Va., students will have the opportunity to work on environmental projects through the Student Conservation Program. In Grantville, Pa., another group of students will work with the Therapeutic Riding Association, which uses horseback riding as therapy for children with disabilities. Still other students will travel to Pursglove, W. Va., where they will be working at The Shack Community Center, participating in after-school programs for children, home repair and community clean-up projects.

Undergraduate and graduate students alike will be participating in this year's spring break trips. Counselor education graduate students will be making the trip to Jackson, Tenn., with Dr. David Stone, assistant professor of counselor education, and Dr. Jean Hunt, assistant professor of literacy education. Allison Swick-Duttine, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, will travel to Pursglove, W. V.A., while Steve Matthews, dean of students, will be going to Greensboro, Ga., and Dean DeLano, coordinator of the Plattsburgh Student Service Corps, will join students in Mt. Rogers, Va.

Ana Thomas, a business and professional communication major from Penfield, N.Y., is participating in her first Alternative Spring Break trip and will be traveling to Bridgeton, N.J.

"This is a chance for me to give back to the community. I am very excited because I wouldn't have had the chance to do this if it wasn't for Cori Matthews and the Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism," said Thomas.

Jake Avery is also excited about his upcoming Alternative Spring Break trip to Greensboro, Ga. 

"The main benefit and most important in my mind is the chance to better someone
else's life," said Avery, a adolescent education major from Vernon, N.Y. "Along with any service, there is self-growth.  A person can learn so much about themselves and grow within their communities."

For more information, contact Cori Matthews at the Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism at 518-564-4830 or email [email protected]

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