Instead of taking a traditional style Spring Break, a group of Piedmont College students embarked on a journey to help build houses for the Habitat for Humanity in Sebring, Florida.
“The goal of the Alternative Break program at Piedmont College is to provide students, faculty, and staff with a service opportunity outside of the Habersham County area,” said Dr. Kim Crawford, Associate Dean of Student Life.
Not just any regular Piedmont College student can attend an alternative spring break. The requirements are having a minimum GPA of 3.0, submit a student resume in person to the Director of Career Education, Lisa Mann, and get recommended by two Piedmont faculty or staff members. The total number of students that got to attend this year’s alternative spring break was 11.
“The application process required students to submit an essay on why they wanted to go on the trip and students had to complete a Compass Reflection form after the trip; to talk about their experience,” said Megan Ramsey, Compass Program Coordinator.
Students were asked to answer why they wanted to attend and even took the time to reflect on their personal experience and share anything they learned or took away from the trip.
Nicole Thomas, a junior mass communications major, said she loved to bond with others while volunteering and this experience is a great way to travel.
“This opportunity allowed me to learn more leadership skills and increased my appreciation of diversity,” said Thomas.
Savannah Cantrell, a junior art education major, emphasized that the 2019 Alternative Spring Break was one of the most humbling and rewarding activities she has ever participated in during her time at Piedmont. Although she worked hard each day, she reminded herself that these homes were potentially going to someone whose home was destroyed or have never owned their home.
“I learned to work alongside other Piedmont students while developing new relationships with the other team members on the construction site. The relationships I have built impacted me whether it was a Piedmont student, a Habitat for Humanity worker, or a Caravanner,” said Cantrell.
Alyssa Emmet, a junior mass communications major, said she found herself during this trip and capitalized on meeting people she would have never met without this trip.
“I learned several facts about Habitat for Humanity and found out I’m capable of doing more than I thought,” said Emmet.
Ashley Dean, a sophomore nursing major, found the opportunity to meet and work alongside many great people who are selfless with their time heartwarming.
“The most rewarding part of this whole experience was getting to meet some of the families that will be living in these houses that we helped to build,” said Dean.
Leslie Lopez, a sophomore business marketing major and graphic design minor always wanted to volunteer. She found that alternative spring break would be the perfect opportunity to explore and meet new people that have been volunteers for a while now.
“Alternative Spring Break reminded me to appreciate all the opportunities that I have. It also showed me the true meaning of “all help counts,” said Lopez.
Areli Albarran, a sophomore nursing major, applied because she wanted help to enhance her sense of vocation through the community service.
“Through the Alternative Spring I strengthened my leadership, communication, problem-solving skills,” said Albarran.
In the end, the students who attended the trip learned many things from home improvement to self-improvement, but one thing that will stay hard to perfect is to become one.
“It can be difficult for everyone to be on the same page, said Albarran.