Spring Break 2012 - Atlanta
Howard University > Alternative Spring Break 2013

ASB Gives Students Get 360 Degree View of Washington

By Dominique Smiley
Howard University News Service
 
                                                                    
WASHINTON (March 15, 2013) -- It’s a common complaint from University faculty, counselors and many administrators that Howard University students spend too much time in the “HU sphere” and not enough exploring the nation’s capitol.

Not so for this year’s volunteers for the university’s Alternative Spring Break in Washington.  Students ventured to every quadrant of the city while performing service projects.

Krystal Akinyemi, a sophomore biology major, prepares for a resume and interview workshop at D.C. General for a group of teens.

In northeast Washington, they tutored children at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School, an elementary school.

In southeast Washington, they played with young children and mentored teenagers at the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project at D.C. General in Ward 6 and painted an inspirational mural at Covenant House Washington. 

In northwest Washington, they attended the Woman’s Collective at Joseph’s House worked with the Fair Budget Coalition and mentored and tutored teenagers at Dunbar High School.

In southwest Washington, they worked to help prevent the spread of HIV with START at Westminster.

Natalie Morgan, a graduating biology major and site coordinator for ASB in Washington, said every site was influential.  The visit to Joseph’s House, a hospice home for cancer and AIDS patients, was particularly meaningful and memorable, Morgan said.

“I know the participants and the leaders at Joseph’s House mutually benefitted from the conversation,” she said.

Daksh Choudhary, a junior biology major and ASB team leader, said he learned a special lesson at Joseph’s House.

“True service requires you to sit on the same level as the person you aim to uplift and where both parties learn from each other,” Choudhary said.

Homelessness and HIV/AIDS awareness were the focuses of ASB in Washington this year, but the team members said they felt their work tutoring elementary and high school students also made a difference.

“At Dunbar, we built relationships with the kids and became their mentors,” Choudhary said.  “So our impact will not be limited to just one week, but will be long term.”

Sterling Brown, a junior biology major and past ASB participant, said he felt that even though he initially was among strangers, a quick bond formed between every participant, creating amazing moments and memories.

“In the beginning, I was unprepared and had a closed mind,” Brown said.  “But towards the end, I kept an open mind, and my eyes were opened.”

Choudhary said it was a special week for him.

“It was a really great experience,” he said.  “All of the participants were great people who really cared about service and making a difference. I couldn’t have asked for a better group.”

Freshman chemical engineering major Alexis Oyetibo and sophomore biology major Akosua Tofori-Atta work diligently on a card for the children at the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project.

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