Spotlight on the Center of Community Service

Stories of Service

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Five Years of ASB: Alternative Spring Break 2008-2012

"When I started as a freshman at Northeastern in 2007, I knew I was looking for a way to get involved that allowed me to meet amazing people, have fun, and make a difference. When a friend told me about Alternative Spring Break, I immediately applied, but I had no idea how much of an impact it would make on my five years at Northeastern, and the rest of my life. As a freshman, I went on an ASB trip to Fort Smith, Arkansas to work with Habitat for Humanity and was immediately hooked. My team was full of some of the most incredible and fun people I’d ever met, and the feeling I got after a hard day’s work of building homes for deserving families was incomparable. By the end of the week, I had already made the decision to apply to be a team leader for the following year. I had the opportunity to go back to Fort Smith with a new team, and the best part was that getting to see that the house I had helped start the year before had been completed! I gained a strong sense of belonging to the community in Forth Smith, and I will never forget the people there.

                  Habitat for Humanity, Fort Smith Arkansas 2008

                    Habitat for Humanity, Fort Smith, Arkansas, 2009

The following year I jumped on the opportunity to be a Coordinator for the entire ASB program. I started a year in advance with my Co-Coordinator to research and plan trips, and was able to expand the program by almost 50%! Sharing my previous ASB experiences with new team leaders and volunteers was a lot of fun, and it was very rewarding to see them have equally as amazing trips as I had had. That year, I went to Laredo, Texas to work with a different chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and had yet another incredible experience. This trip was life-changing in that I came home having recognized my passion for helping people, and immediately changed my major to Human Services. I never would have realized that passion if it weren’t for ASB.

                       Habitat for Humanity, Loredo, Texas 2010

 I came back for another year as a Coordinator, and went on a trip to Guatemala to make improvements to a local school and learn about fair trade coffee farming. Creating relationships in another whole country was eye-opening, and the entire team came home from the trip feeling enlightened and passionate about using what we learned to make lasting changes in our own communities.

                      Bridge Builder, Guatemala 2011 


In my fifth and final year at NU, I knew that I couldn’t miss the opportunity to stay involved in ASB. I came back as a team leader and went to the Grand Canyon to work with an environmental organization called the Grand Canyon Trust. Once again, I walked away with a greater understanding of how my own actions impact the world around me, far beyond what I could have imagined.

                              Grand Canyon Trust 2012

            I enjoyed every single second of my experience with ASB, and would encourage EVERYONE to participate. It has literally changed my life by opening me up to new cultures, experiences, and people. Ultimately, I have been amazed by the overwhelming number of people I have met through ASB from all over the world who are passionate, hardworking, and caring, and who have absolutely shaped my experience as an ASB participants and a Northeastern student.”——Kelly Dwyer, Alternative Spring Breal Volunteer

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