#asbABQ13: Service Learning, Shared Experiences & Connecting to Pay it Forward

During the University of North Texas (UNT) Spring Break (March 11-15) I joined a group of undergraduate students on an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) road trip for some service learning in New Mexico – #asbABQ13.

Alternative Spring Break in NM #asbABQ13
The focus for our volunteering was around the theme of homelessness, so we logged some time at the Roadrunners Food Bank and moving furniture for the “Helping Hands” with the Metropolitan Homelessness Project in Albuquerque, NM (#asbABQ13). You may recall our Student Launcher website (that is still open – hint, hint): http://StudentLauncher.org/9cab [Closes March 28, 2013].

We were one of the many UNT Alternative Spring Break trips created for students who want to give back to their community and participate in a service learning while away from academics. It has also been a very enlightening week for the group as it was the “1st” time for ASB participation & volunteering, visiting the state of New Mexico, travelling without family, or evening being on top of or even seeing  mountains. The ASB trip’s focus was on homelessness and socio-economic issues facing the US today – specifically around the distribution of wealth reality.

During the week our group packed boxing of meat, moved furniture, sorted linens/donations, organized breakfast boxes, and more. Most the week’s work confronted a number of students with what it meant to do more with less. The final day of service impacted the #asbABQ13 team the most, since we were meeting recently placed tenants when delivering furniture to their new dwellings.  The students learned that many of the new tenants had been living on the street anywhere from 5 to 30 years, and often dealing with medical needs and other issues. The final day did involved a great deal of physical work; however the heavy lifting was rewarded by the smiling faces of new residents.

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Thanks for a great week in New Mexico Team #asbABQ13: Suliat, Lasha, Alyssa, DeDe, Asmara, Briatni & Irene!

Over the course of the week, our #asbABQ13 group talked about how we spend money, not waste food, and take for granted our comforts of living. It was pretty impressive to learn that our few days of efforts helped so much. Earlier this week, I received a message from the Roadrunner Food Bank thanking us for our efforts:

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To continue the spirit of giving back, the #asbABQ13 group plans to collect donations that will all go directly to the Roadrunner Food Bank. We learned that dollar donations can go a long way to fill the nutritional needs for the food distribution center. If you have $5-20 to spare, PLEASE consider contributing to our Student Launcher site: http://StudentLauncher.org/9cab

It was an eventful week of service with many new experiences, group projects, and delightful interactions. I am looking forward to seeing how this ASB trip impacts everyone now that we are back on campus. My plan is to continue being involved on and around campus beyond this service trip, and, of course, staying in touch with this amazing group of students:

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