Spring break is the time of year when students have a week off of class and for many, that means heading straight to the beach to party with their friends.
Not only is spring break a favorite holiday for many students, it is a panic-inducing holiday for many parents. They worry about their kids drinking too much, engaging in inappropriate behavior and traveling to locations that are not necessarily safe for young girls and boys looking to have a good time without adult supervision.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to the typical spring break. For those who are not interested in a week they may not remember much of, and for parents who want their children to do something meaningful with their time off, alternative spring break is the answer.
What is Alternative Spring Break?
Alternative spring break is exactly what it sounds like: an alternative to the typical sun, sand and beach spring break that so many students plan.
Alternative spring break provides students with an opportunity to travel to an as-yet unfamiliar place and help those in need. This alternative to the typical spring break means that students will be volunteering during their spring break, helping those who need it while enriching their own lives, too. This type of spring break trip usually lasts a week.
There are many different types of opportunities available for alternative spring breakers, from building houses in countries where natural disasters have displaced thousands of families to providing care for children or even helping a community set up a new school.
Each year there are hundreds of options for students interested in taking an alternative spring break. Many of these are based in other countries, particularly in South America. However, there are also plenty of these alternative trips available in the United States.
One organization that offers this opportunity to students on spring break each year is Habitat for Humanity. The location is different each year, but the purpose is the same: to help rebuild lives by building homes for those in need. In recent years, Habitat for Humanity has offered students on spring break the chance to build along the Gulf Coast where hurricanes and other horrible weather phenomenon have destroyed entire neighborhoods.
Church groups and other charitable organizations also offer students the opportunity to join them in making the world a better place during spring break. You may contact these groups directly or, if you want help deciding who to work with, high school and college student affairs offices can provide you with information regarding local alternative spring break options.
Who Offers Spring Break Alternative Vacations?
In addition to Habitat for Humanity, there is a wide variety of nationwide and international organizations that offer spring break alternatives. One such organization is i-to-i vacations, which allows students to sign up for a week building homes in locations such as Honduras, conserve natural lakes and habitats in Guatemala or work with sea turtles in Costa Rica. Every student that volunteers during their spring break with i to i vacations is able to see a bit of the world while giving back to it at the same time.
The United Way also offers a spring break alternative, which is has done since 2006 when it collaborated with MTV to create Storm Corps, a group of students who headed to the Gulf Coast to help clean up and rebuild after hurricanes such as Katrina ravaged the coast and displaced thousands of families and destroyed entire cities and towns.
What Does an Alternative Spring Break Offer to Me?
Students who volunteer during spring break are offered plenty; the most important being the opportunity to say that you helped to rebuild or save a life. Additionally, those who travel on spring break to do work
in another country have the opportunity to see a bit more of the world. Not only will you have time to explore after working each day, you will be exposed to a way of life that is unfamiliar to you. Different cultures can enrich your life and make you a better, better-rounded person. Finally, you get the opportunity to do something good with your time that will offer you a lifetime of memories. Who doesn’t want the opportunity to tell their children someday that they spent their time building houses for the homeless in a South American community?