Eleven traveling to South Carolina to mentor sexually assaulted
February 27, 2006 —
Eleven students are going to volunteer eight days of their spring break freedom to go to Greenville, South Carolina to be mentors to sexually assaulted girls.
The students are doing this as part of the Alternative Breaks program, where students are given volunteer opportunities around the country, as well as internationally, to experience the many social issues faced today. Instead of the "normal" winter and spring breaks, they travel to a specific destination to give their time and help.
Locations in the past have included New Orleans, Tennessee, New York, and now Guyana and South Carolina.
Going to Greenville are Nick Nowakowski, Tiffany Giattino, Jennifer Molloy, Jennifer Pelc, Jerimiah Spanghini, Sara Lowthian, Megan Haskin, Kalenga Pembamoto, Erin Pearl, Co-Site Leader Nicholas Tereck and Site Leader Katie Hicks.
The program is designed to open the minds and hearts of people who are willing and able to participate in life-changing events. In Tennessee, the students that were chosen to go were able to build wheelchair ramps for people with special needs. In New York, Alternative Spring Break students delivered hot meals to HIV/AIDS and cancer patients who were homebound.
The new challenge ahead is going to South Carolina. The group is going to Crossroads Group Home, where girls who have been sexually assaulted are being taken care of.
"We are going to be mentors to these girls and we will assist in chores out there to support them and care for them," Hicks says.
In order to join this program, one has to have the drive to forget about themselves for a moment and focus on another life, Hicks adds.
"All of us were chosen because of our passion for service," she says. "We are able to learn and experience what we haven't before."
Hicks and her group will face the challenges of helping to change lives one at a time.
"We are basically put into this issue and left to face it head on," she says. "We are then able to go back into the community and educate others about what we have learned."
After the experience, students are left to continue spreading knowledge about the issue(s) being tackled. Alternative Spring Break 2006 will begin Saturday, March 4 and end one week later on March 11.
For more information about volunteering and Alternative Spring Break, go to www.svsu.edu/studentlife.
For more information about Crossroads Group Home in South Carolina, go to www.crossroadsgrouphome.com.