Penn State Altoona

PHOTOS: Alternative spring break trips

Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 611 hits

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Penn State Altoona students were once again afforded the opportunity to take part in a variety of alternative spring break trips through the college this year, in the United States and abroad.

One group of students participated in the college’s service trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua. This eight-day program, started back in 2001, is a partnership with Outreach360, a volunteer program reaching into disadvantaged communities abroad. Seventeen students and three faculty/staff team leaders went on the trip. Some students taught English to elementary school children at the Learning Center in the city while others participated in a sustainable building project. Nursing and health and human development students spent their time teaching health care and first aid to the children. This was Alexis Cascino’s second trip with the group and claims it was the best week of her life. “The kids, the group, and all of the activities made the week incredible. I miss those adorable, smiling faces so much, and I can't wait to see them again. I miss the phenomenal people who I now call my friends. I really don't think there was a moment when I didn't have a huge smile on my face or I was laughing. I sometimes think that when I tell people about Nicaragua and how much I love it, they really don't understand, but this group totally gets it.”

Students from SALT (Students About Living Truth) spent the week in New York City working with a church. They handed out food at the food pantry and soup kitchen and worked with children in a Head Start program. They also cleaned in and around the church which hosted them, including picking up trash in the neighborhood and removing a large tree left over from Hurricane Sandy. Sara Grieco says her favorite part of the trip was spending time outdoors working in the church yard and bonding with others. “I learned that mission work comes in various forms. Although we did not go to another country to do our mission work, and we were not building wells or teaching children English, we were doing God's work. And the congregation was so grateful.”

Students from the Newman Club, Penn State Altoona’s Catholic ministry, traveled to Kentucky to work with the Christian Appalachian Project. The organization is committed to serving people in need in Appalachia by providing physical, spiritual, and emotional support. While there, the students helped with home construction and renovation projects.

Yet another group went to Disney World in Orlando on a trip sponsored by the Office of Student Life and the Campus Activities Board. The trip was created to give students an affordable spring break option that included leadership development and community service in addition to positive social experiences with their peers. Eighty-one students were able to attend. While there, the students participated in the Disney Leadership Program. During this program they uncovered useful tools and strategies that promote effective problem solving, decision making, and managerial skills as practiced by the team at Walt Disney World® Resort. “It was a helpful learning experience for me,” states Candace Gereza. “I learned more about what it means to be a leader and what it takes, as well as how to please other people.” On top of the leadership program, students also spent several hours doing community service at Mustard Seed Furniture and Clothing Bank of Central Florida.

Want to see more photos? Visit our photo gallery!

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