Scenes and stories from ASB 2015

ASB+students+in+Newland%2C+North+Carolina%0D%0ACourtesy+of+Charlotte+Lewis
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Scenes and stories from ASB 2015

ASB students in Newland, North Carolina
Courtesy of Charlotte Lewis

ASB students in Newland, North Carolina Courtesy of Charlotte Lewis

ASB students in Newland, North Carolina Courtesy of Charlotte Lewis

ASB students in Newland, North Carolina Courtesy of Charlotte Lewis

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By Katherine Yearwood

As a part of an annual service-learning trip, Suffolk students opted out from going home or on vacation this spring break to travel with small groups of peers across the country and to Puerto Rico for Alternative Spring Break, a program that allows students to lend a helping hand to communities in need.

Freshman Xochitl Martinez traveled with her group to Laurel, Delaware to work for Habitat for Humanity, an organization that many groups with the ASB program worked with in order to help build communities by either fixing up or helping to put up new homes and buildings. “We were at two different sites,” Martinez said. “At the  first site we were building the base of the house for the subfloor, and at the second site we were siding the house.”

The program can be a laborious.

Freshman Arly Macario, who participated in her first ASB trip to Newland, North Carolina, can attest to that. “I did a bit of everything, from setting up flooring, assembling cabinets, painting rooms, caulking, and painting doors,” she said. “I also had other tasks after our work was done at the house. When our group was in the community center we cooked and cleaned as well.

Macario said she wanted to help others and use her personal time to be a part of a program that concentrated on volunteering. “ASB attracted my attention because of their main priorities to help others who are of need,” said Macario.  While there, she said she learned the difference between service and volunteering. “Service is committing your time to one specific cause while volunteering is an act that is short term and not as intimate,” said Macario.

The ASB program, organized by Suffolk’s Center for Community Engagement, started in 2000 with 12 students who volunteered their time to work with other communities. Now, 15 years later, more than 100 students participate in ASB every year.

“I would [do ASB again] because it was a service trip that I was able to use my personal time to help others. I came back very proud to have been able to participate in such a kind act and organization,” said Macario.

Martinez agreed that it was a trip worth taking again, “It was such an amazing experience and it gave me such a feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment, plus I got to meet some homeowners and talk to them, and got to see firsthand how this program affects and changes lives and it’s just it’s so great and amazing to be part of.”

This year there were 11 locations across the U.S. that teams of 12 students, accompanied by university staff and faculty members, are sent to. At these sites, the students work within a community on social justice issues pertaining to the LGBTQ community, environmental conservation, civil rights, community building, and affordable housing.

The locations that ASB students traveled to where: Gulfport Miss., South Bend Ind., Newland N.C., Triangle Va., Aguadilla P.R., Georgetown Del., Clarkesville, GA., Meridian, Miss., Philadelphia, Pa., Delaware Va., and Denver, Colo.

Below are photos from the Alternative Spring Break trip to Newland, North Carolina, courtesy of Charlotte Lewis.

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