Spring Break 2012 - Atlanta
Howard University > Alternative Spring Break 2013
Through Service, ASB Volunteers Change Lives of Others, and Their Own

By Sydnee Monday
Howard University News Service

Kimani Hamilton-Wray, a sophomore majoring in chemistry, entertains children at The Brooklyn-O’Malley Boys And Girls

BALTIMORE (March 15, 20013) – Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is about sacrifice, students taking a week from school that others use for partying and relaxation and instead using it to help others less fortunate.

But ASB volunteers will tell you it’s a lot more than that. The program, they said, changes how students think by letting them actually experience the need for help in communities across the country.

“I was able to open my eyes and be in others shoes, which inspired me to come back and make more of a difference,” said Shyloe Pollard, a senior majoring in health management who worked in Baltimore this year but had worked previously in another ASB city.

It’s different from learning about poverty or gun violence or other social ills in the media, students said. With ASB, they speak with the people of these communities and see the disparities within the cities for themselves. And when they see it, they said, the necessity of commitment to service cannot be ignored.

“This experience made me realize that I have a huge obligation to my community,” said Olivia Pearson, a sophomore majoring in film production, “and that happiness isn’t really about how much money you make. It’s about spreading joy to others, and nobody can have joy when there are broken communities.”

Michael Jones, a freshman majoring in accounting, and Deandra Renaud, a sophomore majoring in biology, speak to local residents about theimplementation of an anti-gang commission in Baltimore City.

Students who worked in ASB said the experience led many of them to discover a greater purpose and drive within themselves. Many said they are already creating a plan for their commitment to service in the future.

“ASB really does change lives,” said Joshua Narcisse, a freshman majoring in political science. “It grows hearts and shifts mindsets. It put everything in perspective and rekindled my love for service.”

Andrew Hairston, the site coordinator for Baltimore, strongly urges other Howard students to participate in ASB so they can experience what he and thousands of other students who have worked in the program have felt.

“Look at the experience of the first time participants, the stories that they can share, the lives changed, the friendships built and the commitment to Baltimore as a city,” Hairston, who this year completed his third ASB.

It’s clear that Alternative Spring Break at Howard University focuses on changing individuals in order to change communities, on both ends. ASB Baltimore 2013 touched lives on every part of the spectrum, and with this being only the first year at the site, hopes are high for the future of ASB Baltimore and Baltimore City as a whole.

Howard University Police Officer Anthony Smith helps a young person write an appreciation letter at The Brooklyn-O’Malley Boys And Girls Club.
Photos by Sydnee Monday, Howard University
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