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March 6, 2019

SVSU students spend spring break volunteering at nonprofits

SVSU-NYCSaginaw Valley State University students are spending their spring break vacations this week supporting communities across the Midwest and East Coast states.

Through Alternative Breaks, a student-run organization that sends SVSU volunteers to help nonprofit agencies during the university's winter holiday and spring break sessions, 70 students are participating in six projects spanning four states this week before classes resume March 11.

Hospital-bound children and elderly in need of support are among the people benefiting from the students' work. Volunteer efforts also are focusing on improving the environment, raising awareness about HIV and AIDS, and improving housing conditions for families in need.

The six SVSU Alternative Breaks projects include the following:

  • Volunteers are assisting Asheville Greenworks, an environmental advocacy organization, as it works to enhance the Asheville, North Carolina community through educational and volunteer-based environmental programs. During their stay, SVSU students also will learn about human contribution to environmental degradation, urban forestry and invasive plant removal.
  • Another team of SVSU students are working with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Nashville. Volunteers there are spending the week interacting with child patients by playing games with them, reading books, as well as supervising arts and crafts and other activities. The students also are assisting with short-term relief services for families and caregivers there.
  • Volunteers are supporting Citymeals on Wheels, an elderly hunger advocacy group in New York City. Participants are spending the week ensuring that home-bound elderly New Yorkers receive a continuous lifeline of nourishment and companionship.
  • A second group of students volunteering in New York City are teaming with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. Participants are helping to organize educational workshops, meal services and an AIDS Walk project.
  • Volunteers are aiding a Habitat for Humanity spring service trip in Elk Park, North Carolina. Students there also will learn about substandard learning conditions as well as how affordable housing builds strength, stability and self-reliance.
  • A group of SVSU students are assisting La Casa de Amistad, a youth and community center in South Bend, Indiana. Alternative Breaks participants there are helping teach English as a second language, hosting mock interviews, providing digital assistance and preparing the center’s youths for citizenship exams.

For more information about the Alternative Breaks program at SVSU, visit