Sixty Saginaw Valley State University students are continuing their predecessors’ tradition of spending spring break week providing support and good will to in-need communities across the nation.
SVSU’s Alternative Breaks program organized six groups — with 10 students participating in each — who began traveling  today (Saturday) when spring break week begins.
When they arrive at their destinations, each team will spend the week supporting agencies and nonprofits engaging a variety of issues including providing shelter for those in need, empowering communities to overcome racism, and educating children about HIV and AIDS.
The following is a list of the planned Alternative Breaks trips and objectives:
  • At the Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association in Grantville, Pennsylvania, SVSU students will support individuals with special needs and disabilities by exploring non-traditional therapies that could benefit them. At the nonprofit, that “non-traditional therapy” often involves connecting visitors with animals such as horses, goats and cats.
  • In Memphis, SVSU volunteers will provide education about HIV and AIDS to children at Hope House Memphis, a nonprofit that works with families affected by HIV and poverty.
  • Students will join the effort to eliminate substandard housing and provide shelter for the homeless with the nonprofit known as Sussex County Habitat for Humanity in Georgetown, Delaware.
  • With the help of Sisu Integrated Early Learning — a nonprofit in Gainesville, Georgia — students will advocate for education and literacy to the region’s youth.
  • SVSU volunteers will support women both recovering from drug addiction and suffering from mental health disorders at the Nashville organization known as Mending Hearts Inc.
  • In St. Louis, students will assist LifeWise STL, a nonprofit that helps in-need individuals and families prosper financially by addressing systemic barriers in society such as racism.
Alternative Breaks is a student-run organization that has organized volunteer efforts during breaks in SVSU’s school scheduling — including the winter break — since 2004.
Social media users can follow the SVSU Alternative Breaks group updates via Facebook at www.facebook.com/svsuAlternativeBreaks and Twitter at www.twitter.com/ab_svsu.
The  image shows  a group of SVSU students volunteering as part of the Alternative Breaks program during a trip to New Orleans in 2017, when they helped various nonprofits provide support across the community.  The photo was taken by Riley Hupfer for SVSU.