Assistant News Editor
Instead of returning home during spring break, several Florida Southern College students elected to participate in the alternative spring break program, offering their services to the Southwind Young Life Camp in Ocala, Fla.
Southwind works with children and teens with disabilities or from poor economic areas that want to grow in the Christian faith.
This was the third annual alternative spring break trip, established to make a difference in the community through service opportunities.
Rachel Smith, coordinator of volunteer programs at FSC, explained the alternative spring break option.
“We like to give students another option instead of just the choice of flying home,” Smith said. “We try to make the trip accessible for them, and less than the cost of a plane ticket home. So, if they want to stay on campus because they don’t have somewhere to go or if they are an out of state student or international student, there is always another option for them and they are not just stuck on campus with nothing to do.”
Christina Lacafta, junior and out of state student, decided to go on the trip because she didn’t have any plans for spring break and thought it would be a great opportunity to help people.
“We didn’t do much, but I think that we really helped the people,” Lacafta said. “All of us worked together at the camp, they were having sponsors coming for the weekend, so what we did was made the beds for them by putting down sheets, putting down pillows and getting everything neat and organized for them.”
Lacafta and the other students who attended the trip assisted Southwind in preparation of their arriving sponsors for a big weekend celebration.
“Even though it was as simple as making beds, I feel that the most important part was that these are the things that were actually needed to be done,” Lacafta said. “…we helped in our community locally, and were a blessing to those people.”
The trip cost $149, which included all meals, lodging and travel, activities and project materials. Students arrived to the camp Feb. 25 and returned to campus on Feb. 28.
Florida Southern runs a similar program over the summer that includes service opportunities within the community.
The Student Awareness Generates Action program hosts a service learning project where prospective students or current students come to FSC for a week to help in the local community and get school credit by doing class work as well.
Next year, FSC will continue with a similar program. According to Luianne Mims, college archivist, learning communities of freshman will play more of a role.
The new program will include bridge classes to “engage society” containing many service components.
As well as other programs similar to the alternative spring break trip, FSC will continue to provide students with several similar volunteer opportunities.
“I think [volunteering] helps them realize that even small, small amounts of service are really impactful to the organizations and the communities we work with,” Smith said. “I think sometimes they think that service is going and building a house or feeding the homeless or going on a mission trip, something monumental, but it can be really little things and its wherever and whatever the community’s needs are.”