U-Idaho’s Alternative Spring Break Service Trips Include Idaho Communities, too

Monday, March 12 2012


By Emily Frank

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has sent 144 students and staff, not only nationwide for Alternative Service Breaks but into Idaho’s own backyard this week.

Altogether 12 teams are scattered throughout the state and nation. Three teams are volunteering in the Idaho communities of Salmon, Boise and Jerome. The other teams are in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

“I hope to gain a better understanding of rural poverty within our own state and learn what it means to serve regionally,” said Paige Davies, University of Idaho senior and student leader of the Salmon trip. “Often, we take these trips to faraway places, so it's exciting to get into our own backyard and learn more about our Idaho community.”

One staff member and one student are leading each team of 12. Teams are staying in local churches -- which offer kitchens, showers and large floor spaces for indoor camping.

“The trips to Idaho were created to let students understand and face societal issues in their own backyard,” said Bruce Mann, coordinator for the Associated Students of the University of Idaho Center for Volunteerism and Social Action.

The trips focus on helping to alleviate such issues as poverty, homelessness, hunger, domestic violence, education, housing, immigration, community development and race. After each day of service, teams will participate in group discussions led by their respective student leaders. The talks help students reflect on regional social issues and potential solutions.

“The students learn self-awareness, personal and social responsibility and how to understand others’ perspectives,” said Mann.

In Boise, the alternative service break team is volunteering at City Light Home for Women and Children, a service of the Boise Rescue Mission. They’ll serve meals, assist staff and work on remodeling projects. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the realities of hunger and homelessness and have critical conversations around the causes and effects of domestic violence. Volunteers also will spend a day at the Central Middle School in Nampa.

In Jerome, volunteers are working with various community organizations, the City of Jerome and the University of Idaho Office of Community Partnerships on community development, immigration and education. Volunteers also will work with middle school and high school students, discussing the benefits of continuing education and answering questions about their experiences in college.

In Salmon, participants are working on several projects dealing with poverty and community development. Students will interact with people who are working to improve their community for everyone.

For more information about ASB trips, visit http://volunteer.asui.uidaho.edu/Volunteer/ASB.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.