Howard University > Alternative Spring Break 2011 - Atlanta

It’s the Maiden ASB for Many Howard Students in Atlanta

By Tyeasha Williams
Howard University News

Freshman pre-pharmacy major Nathaniel Gerald works with two Hope Hill students on their math skills.  He said he doesn’t participating in ASB as a sacrifice of his spring break.
ATLANTA- Baltimore native Nikkia Echols, a former dancer for the Randallstown High School Band, is skipping mom’s home cooking and the chance to help out with her old dance team this spring break.  Neither, is she lounging on a beach, like so many of her fellow college students do this time of the year, or hanging at a famous spring break party hot spot.

Instead, Echols is at Hope Hill Elementary School in Atlanta tutoring 4th grade students in math and English in preparation for state achievement tests.

Echols is one of nearly 100 Howard students who are in Atlanta to work at the school as part of the University’s annual Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program.  This year, more than 350 students are in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Washington and Haiti working in needy communities.

This is Echols first time participating in the program.  Despite the 13-hour bus trip to Atlanta, Echols was upbeat about her first day tutoring children.

“I appreciate the mission of ASB Atlanta,” she said. “I’m proud that I can help students find something inside of them that will keep them looking forward to their futures.”

Echols will concentrate on reading comprehension while other volunteers tutor in math and English.  She said she hopes that she can instill confidence in the children that will not only help them pass the state assessment tests, but that will resonate long after the Howard students leave.
        Lacey Coleman, 18, another Maryland native, is also excited about working with the children at Hope Hill. Coleman, an early graduate of Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Md., is a sophomore majoring in audio production.  She is also an ASB first-timer.

“I have a soft spot for children, and I especially have an affinity for children who struggle in their studies,” Coleman said.

Coleman said she had difficulties with reading comprehension in elementary school.

Baltimore native NIkkia Echols, here helping 3rd grader Kayana on her math assignments, said “I am proud I can help students find something inside of them." 

ASB first-timer Lacey Coleman, (right) said because of her own problems with reading comprehension in elementary school, “I especially have an affinity for children who struggle in their studies.”

“I want to target their problems and give them a chance to talk about it,” she said.  “I want to provide the encouragement and inspiration they need to get them over this.”

Freshman pre-pharmacy major Nathaniel Gerald is also participating in ASB for the first time.  Gerald is from Cleveland, where he graduated from Shaker Heights High School.

“I expect an amazing experience out of ASB, and that’s what I intend to get,” Gerald said.  “I knew that I’d have a lot of responsibility, and I welcome it. But along the way, I hope to build closer bonds with my fellow peers from HU and friendships with others. I just really want to make an impact.”

Gerald said while some might see what he’s doing over spring break as a sacrifice, he doesn’t.
“I believe in the motto that if you look back on the past, you can improve the future,” he said.

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