A dozen Western Carolina University staff members and students headed off to Tennessee for their spring break, except for them it wasn’t a break.
Instead, they chose to participate in a five-day service project during which they volunteered at various local community agencies in Tennessee. Since 2005, WCU’s Center for Service Learning and Last Minute Productions have made this trip possible. This year’s alternative spring break took place March 2-6.
Katie Graunke, program coordinator in the Center of Service Learning, comments, “on the trips, students spend their break time performing service and learning about problems faced by members of communities with whom they typically would have little or no direct contact.”
This year, volunteers served at several Nashville sites. They sorted food to be distributed to partner agencies at Second Harvest Food Bank, an organization whose mission is to reduce food waste and feed the hungry people in Middle Tennessee.
At the Catholic Charities, programs that provide human services that enhance the quality of life for people in need, they worked with Loaves and Fishes, The Adult Day Program and the Living at Home Program. They spent time cleaning and decorating the Monroe Harding, an organization that helps provide a bridge toward independence and success for at-risk youths. At the YWCA Domestic Violence Center, the largest domestic violence center in Tennessee, the volunteers spent a day working in the donations shed and doing clean-up activities.