Alternative Spring Break
Pictured: St. Bernard Project AmeriCorps members, MSU Volunteers, and AmeriCorps Volunteer Center and Service-Learning Coordinators on-site during 2017 Alternate Spring Break
Students who participated in the 2017 Alternative Spring Break had an AMAZING service-learning experience!
Four Montclair State University students chose to spend their free time over the spring recess to make a difference in someone else's life. Volunteers spent four days (March 5 to 9) working with the St. Bernard Project (SBP) to rebuild a house that was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. The Longbranch, NJ home owner and his son have been displaced from their home and mislead and stalled by several different contractors for nearly five years. These failed contracting costs, combined with the additional financial burden of renting an apartment had made it impossible to fix their house - at least, without some help!
That's where the St. Bernard Project came in. As part of its Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, SBP works in Monmouth and Ocean Counties to rebuild and repair homes damaged by the storm. SBP's New Jersey operation serves low- to moderate-income residents with a special focus on families with small children, the elderly, disabled persons, war veterans, and the under- and uninsured. Their mission will not be accomplished until every family is home.
SBP and our dedicated volunteers from Montclair State University wanted to show these families that they are not forgotten. Overall, Montclair State students, along with the Volunteer Coordinator and Service-Learning Coordnator dedicated more than 300 combined hours of hard work. Over the course of four days, MSU volunteers : cut and laid tiles in the muckroom, the bathrooms, and the shower; and spackled, sanded, and painted the living room, hallway, and bedrooms. They were able to see the progress of the house each day and in the end, left feeling satisfied that their help will enable this father and son to finally move back into their home this summer!
In addition to all of that labor and honing of new skills, they also had some time for fun and making new friends. Volunteers enjoyed plenty of coffee runs, lunch at the beach, movie nights, an excursion to the Asbury Park boardwalk, a homemade gnocchi tutorial by a fellow service group, playing cards, and (attempting) "around the world" ping pong!
A special THANK YOU to those who donated or participated in any of our many fundraisers that made this and future MSU Alternative Spring Break trips possible!