A small group of students at Bowdoin College in Maine turned their winter break from classes this year into a grand adventure. Through an Alternative Winter Break program, a group of students gave up a week of their winter holiday to help homeless, refugee and immigrant communities in Portland, Oregon. Living in meager accommodations, these students worked with English language learners in downtown Portland to bridge communication gaps, help with instruction, and generally serve as a supporting presence in local shelters. The 12-hour a day volunteer work was exhausting but rewarding, and led some students to begin volunteering with local community organizations regularly, or study issues of social injustice through their assignments in college.
Options for local volunteer work in the D.C. metro region abound. However, if you would like to couple a travel adventure with your volunteer work, you might take a look at the options for an Alternative Spring Break with the United Way. Giving back to our world while getting to see other parts of the country is a “win-win” scenario for many college students. Consider joining the trend!