Suffolk senior Amy DalCanton and a group of student volunteers will travel to Denver during spring break to help build a home for a family forced to escape Afghanistan due to political turmoil.

Hers is one of 10 Suffolk groups volunteering at sites nationwide from March 13 to 20 through the Center for Community Engagement’s Alternative Spring Break program.

“Being involved with Alternative Spring Break has helped me to better understand the world around me,” said DalCanton. “Volunteering at these different places has taught me how some people are better off than others, and it has everything to do with social justice.”

Students install ceiling DalCanton first became involved with the Alternative Spring Break program a year ago and is about to embark on her second effort with Habitat for Humanity—this time as a group leader.

Last year DalCanton and fellow students helped construct the interior of a two-story home in South Bend, Indiana.

“We met the family that will be living in the house, and that was important, because we got to put a face to the people that we were helping. They kept on saying ‘thank you,’” recalled DalCanton. “It put everything in perspective and gave us great pride in what we were doing.

DalCanton, who is majoring in communication studies and international relations, said that her involvement in Alternative Spring Break also has helped her to become “more confident in communicating with people from all walks of life.”

Through the Alternative Spring Break program, students agree to spend their spring vacations in community service. Participants meet weekly with their trip groups beforehand to learn more about social justice, their site, and to bond as a team.

This spring, Suffolk groups of 14, including two student leaders, and two faculty/staff facilitators, will travel to the following sites:

  • Denver
  • South Bend
  • Philadelphia
  • Meridian, Mississippi
  • Newland, North Carolina
  • Clarkesville, Georgia
  • Georgetown, Delaware
  • Delaplane, Virginia
  • Grand Canyon, Arizona
  • Bel Air, Maryland..

Six of the Suffolk teams will partner with Habitat for Humanity, three will be working with environmental organizations, and the Philadelphia trip will focus on LGBT+ issues.

The service at Grand Canyon National Park is tied to an Environmental Studies course about the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, and its effects on the physical and political landscape of the United States, as well as its relationship with modern environmentalism.

Follow along with the different ASB groups this week on Twitter and Instagram around #SuffolkASB16, and watch the groups on Suffolk's Snapchat account.