Alternative Breaks

    Alternative Breaks places teams of students in communities across the nation to engage in direct service and experiential learning during traditional school breaks. Students work alongside community members, performing short-term service projects and learning about such issues as poverty, racism, homelessness and the environment. Past trips have ranged from hurricane relief work in New Orleans to delivering hot meals to AIDS patients in New York City.

Alternative Spring Break

2015 Alternative Spring Break Sites

Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (Atlanta, GA)

Focus: Community Health               

The Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, Inc. is a community-based prevention and wellness organization committed to improving health and well-being in partnership with marginalized individuals and communities. AHRC provides education and tiered risk reduction programs to empower adults in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of substance use, HIV, STDs, hepatitis and other infectious and communicable diseases. Volunteers assisted with street outreach, helped run the AHRC Outreach House, organized the Clothing Closet, served snacks, beverages, and meals, made outreach supplies, distributed flyers and brochures, recruited community members for free HIV testing, distributed Naloxone kits, cleaned and organized the AHRC House and yard,  worked in the AHRC Community Gardens, and assisted with other administrative duties of the House. 


Creative Center for Non-Violence (Washington D.C.)

Focus: Public Health in Southern Appalachia

Participants stayed at the Creative Center for Non-violence. CCNV is one of the country’s largest homeless shelters. There, participants gained first-hand experience of what it is like to live in a homeless shelter. Participants on the Washington D.C. trip served with the following organizations:

Bright Beginnings is a school for children ages 6 months to 6 years who are living in crisis shelters or transitional housing. The mission of Bright Beginnings is to provide children with a safe, nurturing environment, to get children ready for kindergarten, and to support homeless parents to stabilize their home lives and become self-sufficient. Participants assisted classroom teachers with activities such as center time, recess, lunch and snacks, and classroom organization and decorating.

At D.C. Central Kitchen, students helped to prepare some of the 5,000 meals the organization serves daily to nearby homeless shelters, transitional housing, and non-profit organizations. Students also worked with DCCD’s Food Recycling program to convert donated food into balanced meals.

Martha’s Market is a part of Martha’s Table, an organization that provides a pop-up grocery market at various schools in the D.C. area. Trip participants worked to set up the market and distribute the items. Children of the school and their families are able to select nutritious foods from the market at no cost. Each family received the equivalent of 18 meals per student. Families also received recipes for how to use the fresh produce and other ingredients they get from the market. 

Victory Junction (Randleman, NC)

Focus: Children

Participants travelling to Randleman, NC worked with Victory Junction, a camp for children with serious illnesses. Victory Junction offers life-changing camp experiences at no cost to children or their families and provides 24-hour medical supervision for the campers. This trip was offered exclusively to students in the Pre-Health Living Learning Community (PHLLC) through our partnership with Medical Professions Advisement. Prior to spending the weekend at Victory Junction, participants spent some time getting to know one another through some fun activities in Greensboro, NC. After arriving at the camp, each participant of this trip was partnered with a family and worked as a “Crew Chief,” or ambassador of Victory Junction. The Crew Chiefs spent their entire days with the families, escorting them to the activities for each day and spending time interacting with, playing with, and supporting the children and their families. 

For more information about Alternative Breaks contact the Office of Community Service Programs at .

Learn more about these service organizations:

Volunteer ETSU  
Service Opportunities Fair
Community Service Programs

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