Spring Break 2012 - Atlanta
Howard University > Alternative Spring Break 2013
Howard University Students Use Their Spring Break to Tackle Poverty in Haiti
By Jordan Duckens
Office of University Communications

WASHINGTON -- For nearly 20 years, Howard University students have skipped the beaches, parties, vacations and even trips home for spring break to instead use that time serving others across the nation and the world.

This year, hundreds will spend spring break in seven U.S. cities and Haiti from March 9 to March 15 helping communities with a variety of concerns – from illiteracy to gang violence to gun control to HIV/AIDS.

In Haiti, the team of 17 students and two faculty advisors will volunteer in Croix des Bouquets, a community eight miles northeast of Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince. They will conduct dental hygiene screenings, lead sexual health education sessions and teach adults to read and write in English. The team will also plant a community garden in Pétionville, a suburb east of Port-au-Prince, in collaboration with the Young Women’s Christian Association of Haiti and they will be learning from the group Beyond Borders about efforts to combat child servitude in Haiti. The advisors are Martine Elie, Ph.D., clinical director of the Howard University Speech and Hearing Clinic, and Joseph Emanuel, special assistant to the dean for the Office of Residence Life. This is the third year Howard will volunteer in Haiti following the tragic earthquake in January 2010 earthquake, which devastated the Caribbean nation.

The effort is part of the University’s award-winning Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program led by Executive Director Dr. Paula Whetsel-Ribeau.  Since 2009, ASB has expanded to incorporate multiple cities. This year, volunteers will serve communities in eight locations and will provide more than 12,000 hours of service. ASB 2013 includes service sites in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Haiti. This is the largest number of locations served in the program’s 19-year history.

In the past, Howard University students tutored elementary school students in English and math, helped rebuild in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and helped establish a library for a public high school in Washington, D.C. ASB is coordinated through the Office of the Dean of the Chapel with significant institutional support from the Office of the President coupled with the help of generous donations from Howard alumni, students, staff, faculty and residents from Washington, Maryland and Virginia.
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