Getting Warm and Doing Good
It certainly didn’t hurt that this year’s Alternative Spring Break trip took the club members away from the bitter New Hampshire winter to one of the warmest spots in the country: the city of Tucson in southern Arizona. As with everything ASB does, however, the point of the trip was not their own comfort – it was finding ways to help others.
The ASB Club traveled to Tucson to help out the local Boys and Girls Club, which serves “an area that is not the best off,” as one ASB member put it. The Spring Breakers spent the week helping to clean and repair the Boys and Girls clubhouses, and also working directly with the children. It was school vacation in Tucson that week, so the Boys and Girls Club was offering special programming for the kids, including a gardening program to help them learn how to grow their own fruits and vegetables for a healthier diet. The group also volunteered time at a local soup kitchen.
At right, NHTI's Emily Schmieder sorts donated foods at a Tucson Soup Kitchen. At left, NHTI's Taylor Murphy (far left) packs goldfish for lunches at the Soup Kitchen with Emily from Rutgers University.
Not that the trip was all work and no play. The group found time to go hiking, explore downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona, attend a powwow, and watch an awesome southwestern sunset.
The ASB Club spent most of the school year fundraising for this trip. The group operated concessions at NHTI sports events, and worked the coat check at Winter Fling and Business After Hours to raise money. They sent sponsorship packets to local businesses seeking donations. Major contributors included the Student Senate, Say It In Stiches, and a number of NHTI faculty and staff members.
ASB also engaged in a variety of service work during the year – not to raise funds, but because, as one member put it, “we want to make a difference in our own community, not just on Spring Break.” The club helped out with NHTI programs like the Red Cross blood drives and Wildlife Encounters, and also worked with local charitable organizations like the Friends of Forgotten Children.
But all agreed that Spring Break in Tucson was the kind of experience they’d hoped for when they joined ASB. “I wanted to get a better sense of other communities and cultures,” said a club member, “and find out what we could do to help them.” “Helping your own community is nice,” said another, “but going to another community to see how they handle their problems really opens your eyes.”
Traveling to Tucson helped remind the club members that many people – not just in other countries, but even in our own – do not have things they take for granted in their own lives. They hope that their example of taking time out to help those less fortunate may inspire others to do the same.
“When I was younger,” said one member, “I thought I was going to change the world. Well, maybe I can’t change the world. But I can change somebody’s world.”
At right, NHTI's Taylor Murphy and Matthew Krajcik climbing Orange trees at the University of Arizona. (I don't think we're in New Hampshire anymore, Toto!)
Interested in joining the Alternative Spring Break Club? Contact club advisor Alex Carbone at 271-6484 x 4198 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apr 3, 2015