Alternative Spring Break 2019 offers an opportunity to make a difference for a deserving family.

For those in the University of the Incarnate Word community, it will come to no surprise that spending precious vacation days cleaning, clearing, scraping, priming and painting has become a favorite tradition. For a decade, students, faculty and staff have volunteered their time over the university holiday to improve homes in underserved neighborhoods as part of UIW’s Alternative Spring Break.

An initiative from the Office of Mission and Ministry, this year’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) will take place March 11 through 15 and provide students an opportunity to earn critical service hours and see how significant their efforts are to the homeowners and community they impact. Over the course of seven work days, volunteers transform the façade of a home, which Dr. Joleen Beltrami, associate professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and ASB co-chair, has said has a positive ripple effect throughout the neighborhood. In addition to the work on homes, volunteers also contribute to a clean-up effort around the Frank Garrett Center, a community center, which serves the surrounding Central/West side community.

However, neighborhoods and communities aren’t the only beneficiaries of this good works.

“The impact on the students can be profound,” says Adam Mulder, assistant professor of Art at UIW. “They get to experience how to paint a home and how such a simple task can mean so much to someone. I think the students see that sometimes it doesn’t take much to improve someone’s situation. Just by showing up and giving some of their time they see that service to our community can be fun and very rewarding.”

Faculty, too, can benefit from interacting with students and alumni outside of the classroom and contribute to a common goal together.

“The most rewarding part of ASB for me is the opportunity to work with students in a capacity that allows us to serve together, and the more meaningful relationships this interaction fosters between students and faculty,” said Mulder. “The gratitude expressed by the residents of the homes we improve is also very rewarding.”

Volunteers can choose to participate at any time throughout the seven-day opportunity. Shuttles provide transportation to and from service locations and breakfast and lunch are provided. Plus, each day counts for six hours of service.

For more information and to sign up for Alternative Spring Break 2019, visit https://my.uiw.edu/mission/services/alternative-spring-break.html. For any questions or concerns, contact Adam Mulder at amulder@uiwtx.edu.