Not all Clayton State University students are heading directly home for the holidays once exams end on Monday, Dec. 9. Two teams of students will participate in the 2013 Alternative Winter Break Volunteer Program taking place during the week of Dec. 9 to Dec. 13, 2013.
Team Orlando – consisting of Jessica Dent (Augusta), Sara Diggins (Austell), Josee Dolce (Riverdale), Keyauna Hopkins (Macon), Catherine Hutchins (Atlanta), Exell Jackson (Columbus), Samantha Lapier (Dalton), Joel Lymon (College Park), Christopher Manning (Houston), Jevon Miller (Macon), Nicholas Reed (Statesboro), Hillary Rimes (Savannah), Venus Royster (Atlanta), Breanna Simpson (Jonesboro), Whitney Smith (Macon) Racquel Valadez (Colorado) along with Jennifer Welch, AmeriCorps program coordinator and Dr. Samuel Maddox, associate professor of Psychology, will travel to the Kissimmee/Orlando, Florida area to volunteer with Give Kids the World Village.
Give Kids the World is a 70-acre nonprofit storybook resort located in Central Florida where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to a week- long, cost-free fantasy vacation. Throughout the week, ClaytonState’s students will have the chance to both support community needs, and engage in experiential learning by volunteering in a variety of areas in the Village, including food service and entertainment venues. In addition to offering a valuable service to the community, the students will also have the opportunity to address the emotional and psychological impacts on children and families of terminally ill young people, notes Maddox.
Team Atlanta – consisting of Arabia Bellinger (Lawrenceville), Jessica Canty (Decatur), Felisa Creamer (Athens), Avery Dawson (College Park), Oscar Hopkins (Morrow), Taylor Hughes (Lithonia), Erika Smith (Lithonia), Santana Postell (Morrow), Sochea Ung (Jonesboro), Hang Phan (Forest Park), and Thadeous Taylor (Lithonia) along with LaShanda Hardin, Campus Life service learning coordinator and Dr. Charlotte Swint of the Clayton State School of Nursing, will fulfill their goal of affecting the world without a passport, or even leaving the Atlanta area.
Participants will also serve in community support and experiential learning, in this case at four local non-profit organizations, all with a global presence and outreach; Books For Africa, The Global Soap Project, The International Rescue Committee and Project Medshare. Students will have the opportunity to see how local efforts have an international impact and why Atlanta is the preferred location for so many international non-profit organizations. Swint will serve as faculty advisor for the trip and a valuable academic resource for participating students.
The Alternative Break Volunteer program is an opportunity for students to engage in community-based service projects during the University’s designated Winter and Spring Semester Breaks, notes Hardin. “This program was developed to create an understanding and appreciation of the issues people of various communities encounter daily. Students return from the experience with a deeper understanding of volunteerism, community service and activism to help create change,” she says.