By Laura Fisher ’15
While their peers venture off to tropical destinations for spring break, 60 UNC students will instead dedicate their time to giving back to the community. Through the APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Break program, students will spend eight days focusing on civil rights and disaster relief or characteristics of Latino, urban and rural communities. Students spent the semester preparing for the break experience through the two-credit hour class HBEH 610, Critical Approaches to Service-Learning. Classroom interaction focused on theories and experiences relevant to social action and community development, and the alternative spring break experience will allow them to apply what they have learned through service and advocacy work.
Between March 7 and 15, some APPLES students will travel to Birmingham, Ala., or Atlanta while others work in the North Carolina communities of Burgaw, Dunn, Durham, Charlotte, Clinton, Lumberton, Pembroke, Raleigh, Rocky Point and Swan Quarter. Each group will engage in direct and indirect service with community partners in the area, gaining a deeper understanding about the assets and challenges of those communities. Following the experience, emphasis is placed on reflection to encourage active citizenship beyond the break experience when they return to Chapel Hill and their home communities.
“It has been interesting to learn about civil rights in a classroom setting,” said Amy Kalinowski ’15, a student traveling to Birmingham to address civil rights issues in the community. “I am looking forward to directly applying everything we’ve learned so that I can gain a more personal connection to the issue.”
All APPLES alternative breaks are student-led experiences in which students travel outside of Chapel Hill to engage with a community, performing service while learning about a pertinent topic reflective of that area. Each year, more than 168 UNC students give their time to serve through APPLES alternative break programs, working with community partners that have established relationships supporting these breaks year after year.
For more information on APPLES alternative spring breaks, visit ccps.unc.edu/apples/alternative-breaks/alternative-spring-break/.