News Room Howard University

UPDATED: March 6, 2009

For Immediate Release

Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Media Relations Manager


WHUR “A Helping Hand” Radiothon Raises Nearly $45,000
Fundraiser to Send 300 Students to Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and
D.C. Metro Area

Photos by Justin D. Knight
L-R Brandon Francis phone bank volunteer, and Naa Koshie Mills, Alternative Spring Break fundraising chair,
receive donations during the WHUR "A Helping Hand" radiothon on March 1, 2009.

WASHINGTON (March 1, 2009) – The Howard University Radio (WHUR 96.3 FM) “A Helping Hand” radiothon held on Sunday, March 1, raised $45,000 to send 300-plus students on Alternative Spring Break (ASB) service missions to assist communities in Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and at home in the Washington metropolitan area.

Despite an early morning dusting of snow and frigid temperatures, Alternative Spring Break volunteers were out in large numbers during the 12-hour radiothon to raise funds to offset the cost of travel and modest lodging during the weeklong service mission.

“We are thankful to the WHUR listeners who contributed in spite of the slumping economy,” said Jim Watkins, general manager of WHUR. “The gifts will allow Howard students to fan across the country and in our area to help those who are in great need.”

After two weeks of promotion and 12 hours of continuous on-air outreach, Howard University supporters, including thousands of loyal WHUR 96.3 FM loyalists across the Washington Metropolitan region and online listeners across the nation, gave a helping hand.

Naa Koshie Mills, ASB fundraising chair, worked in the makeshift phone bank at the Studios of WHUR. Mills was on hand to take dozens of phone calls and assist her peers with transactions. Freshman Brandon Francis received a $1000 gift from Upper Marlboro, Md., resident Ellen Brinson.

Alternative Spring Break volunteer and a member of the "Bucket Brigade" solicits donations along
Georgia Avenue during the WHUR "A Helping Hand" radiothon on March 1, 2009.

Mid-term exams did not deter Alternative Spring Break coordinator Gerald Ashby.

“I got to WHUR at 5 a.m.,” Ashby said while wrapping up the day at 7 p.m. “We are grateful to the Howard family and the listeners who believed in our cause and gave generously.”

Ashby led the “Bucket Brigade,” collecting more than $10,000 between W and Bryant Streets along Georgia Avenue.

ASB Executive Director Paula Whetsel-Ribeau, Ph.D., sees Alternative Spring Break as a service-learning mission.

“We encourage students to use their gifts and talents to serve,” Whetsel-Ribeau said. “We hope to create models of success that transcend the cities we serve. While giving back we hope to impact America and the world.”

The live broadcast featured Howard University officials including President Sidney A. Ribeau and student volunteers. Other interviewees included Detroit Deputy Mayor Saul Green and Prince George’s County First Lady and alumna Leslie Johnson.

This year students will return to New Orleans to help in the city’s legal departments. In Chicago, students will work to reduce gun violence in conjunction with efforts by local churches. In Detroit, they will concentrate on literacy by helping students in the city’s public schools, and in the Washington metro area, they will tackle homelessness in the District of Columbia and surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia and provide mentoring and tutoring to area students.

Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB), coordinated through the Office of the Dean of the Chapel, has been taking students on public service missions since 1996 – immersing participants in unique cultures to provide immediate assistance and to reflect on the challenges prevalent in communities throughout society.

Howard University is a private, comprehensive research university that is comprised of 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, a Marshall Scholar, 19 Fulbright Scholars and 10 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United
States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web