Photo by Justin D. Knight
For years, Howard students have chosen
to forgo the usual spring break traditions of rest, sun and fun
to give back to various communities. This year proved no different
as more than 300 students traveled to communities in Washington,
D.C., Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans and volunteered for the Alternative
Spring Break (ASB) program. The program, now in its 13th year, was
a great success as students were involved in public service projects,
such as tutoring, mentoring and serving meals at a soup kitchen.
“I really believe service changes lives,” said Paula Whetsel–Ribeau,
Ph.D., the first lady of Howard and the executive director of ASB.
“It changes the lives of those serving and those being served."
The projects focused on major issues affecting the communities in
which the students served. For the students in New Orleans, it was
continuing to help with the effects of the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina. And in Washington D.C, students worked with various high
schools, with a focus on violence and low literacy rates.
In Chicago, students worked with several schools on the South Side
of the city and addressed the problem of gun violence in the community.
Working with Rev. Dr. Michael L. Pfleger, pastor of the Faith Community
of Saint Sabina, the students also lobbied legislators in the state
capital, Springfield, for passage of a bill that would require universal
backgrounds for any gun purchases in the state.
In Detroit, the students focused on the low graduation rates of
African-American high school students, by demonstrating the importance
of education. Howard students also worked with the Salvation Army,
served food to the homeless and read to school children and their
For Anique Hameed, a freshman Broadcast News major, her experiences
with the children made an impression on her. “I wanted the children
to know that they are divine, and that they have the power to create
change within their environment,” she said. “This trip has broadened
my perspective a great deal.”
Ty Axson, a senior journalism major, agreed.
"This trip has affected me in all the right ways. It has helped
me realize that I need to do more as a college student and that
I need to mobilize other Howard students."