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December 19, 2019

SVSU students volunteer for nonprofits across U.S. during winter break

Alternative BreaksNearly 100 Saginaw Valley State University students dedicated to community service are spending a week of their winter break volunteering across the nation as part of SVSU’s Alternative Breaks program.

Alternative Breaks is a student-run organization that sends its members to locations across the U.S. to participate in a range of volunteer activities during college break periods including winter and spring breaks.

This week, nine groups of SVSU students are spending Dec. 14-21 in eight different states to aid nonprofit organizations involved in causes such as suicide prevention awareness, assisting in elderly care, engaging LGBTQ+ issues, and rebuilding homes, among other activities.

The following is a breakdown of the nine nonprofit organizations and causes that students are engaging as part of Alternative Breaks:

  • At the Center for Suicide Awareness — a nonprofit in Kaukauna, Wisconsin — students are supporting mental health programming for teens at Kaukauna High School.
  • At a Maryville, Tennessee-based wilderness retreat known as Once Upon a Time in Appalachia, volunteers are helping the nonprofit Breakaway. The organization links college students with communities to perform service projects addressing a variety of social, cultural and environmental needs.
  • At La Casa De Amistad — a nonprofit charitable organization that functions as a youth and community center in South Bend, Indiana — SVSU volunteers are serving Hispanic communities by organizing programming relating to immigration processes.
  • With the nonprofit Campus Pride in Charlotte, SVSU students are supporting the needs of LGBTQ+ communities and ally student leaders.
  • With the help of Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition Inc. — a nonprofit based in Murphy, North Carolina — volunteers are helping to maintain water quality in creeks, lakes and rivers that flow into the Hiwassee River.
  • At a Habitat for Humanity site in Birmingham, students are educating communities about global housing issues while learning how to tackle those issues.
  • A ninth team of SVSU volunteers are rebuilding, repairing and beautifying homes for disadvantaged homeowners with the help of the nonprofit United Saints Recovery Project in New Orleans.

After returning from their trips, many of the SVSU students engage in volunteer service for a nonprofit organization in the Great Lakes Bay Region — or their home communities — devoted to a cause similar to the causes they engaged during the Alternative Breaks trip.

Follow the journeys of the students participating in SVSU's Alternative Breaks program at the following Facebook page: