Civic House’s Alternate Spring Break (ASB) program
In conjunction with the Civic House Alternate Spring Break Program and The Fox Leadership Program many Penn students and staff worked on service projects in the Gulf area during Spring Break. See www.sas.upenn.edu/foxleadership/docs/civic_hurricane_relief.html for pictures.
About 1500 Penn students have participated in ASB since its inception in 1990.In 2006, ASB had 92 participants and they served in seven different locations:
1. Flagstaff, Arizona assisting the Navajo United Way in serving the needs of the residents of Navajo Nation at a community health clinic
2. Florida City, Florida promoting involvement and awareness of human impact and proper use of the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks
3. New Orleans, Louisiana helping the on-going rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina with Habitat for Humanity
4. Fayetteville, North Carolina helping to construct affordable housing in partnership with families, volunteers, and the Fayetteville community with Habitat for Humanity
5. Georgetown, South Carolina (a town where one-third of all housing is substandard) working with Habitat for Humanity
6. Robbins, Tennessee (Appalachian Mountain Region) helping rural families build their own homes with Habitat for Humanity
7. San Juan, Texas working with La Unidad del Pueblo Enterro helping farm workers deal with issues surrounding poor working conditions and low wages
See www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v52/n32/asblist.html for a list of the ASB 2006 participants.
In addition to ASB’s traditional Spring Break trips, students and staff members have several times taken up causes and responded through service trips. This year in particular, many groups of University community members traveled to the Gulf Coast to support the ongoing relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. Civic House initiated one such trip to Biloxi, Mississippi over winter break. Fourteen staff members and students participated in the trip:
Alison LaLond, Civic House
Beth Hagovsky, Wharton Undergrad Division
David Grossman, Civic House
Elizabeth Curtis, C ’06
Kim Hsu, C ’07
Lisa Zhu, C ’09
Malik Cooper, SPP graduate student
Meredith Edwards, C ’06
Natasha Miller, Christian Association
Sean Vereen, Greenfield Intercultural Center
Sheri Halpern, C ’06
Suzanne Bellan, PennCard Center
Tavor Sondheimer, C ’08
Ty Furman, Student Performing Arts
While in Biloxi, they worked in partnership with Catholic Charities, removing damaged property from individuals’ homes, clearing yards, taking down moldy and unsalvageable walls and ceilings, and, most significantly, hearing the first-hand accounts of people who had been affected by the storm, lost most of their belongings, and remain hopeful to rebuild their homes and their lives.
A group of the students who went on winter and/or spring trips to the Gulf Coast are in the midst of planning for summer trips to New Orleans. More information can be found at http://dolphin.upenn.edu/~altbreak/nolasummer.html.
Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 32, May 2, 2006