Alternative Breaks to provide volunteer opportunities

Tayler Critchlow


Alternative Break trips provide Georgia Southern University students with the opportunity to volunteer for a straight week both domestically and internationally.

The trips are offered during school breaks such as winter break, spring break and summer break with additional week trips being added for this coming school year.

“The cool piece about it is when a student goes on an Alternative Break trip it’s a transformative sort of experience,” Todd Deal, Ph.D., director of the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, said.

“You’re pushing yourself further just to learn more about it and once you learn more about it, it becomes a part of you so you get more satisfaction out of it because you truly understand why you’re doing the things that you’re doing,” Tiara Johnson, graduate assistant of alternative breaks and community partnership and co-chair of the Alternative Break Board, said.

Johnson was a student who participated in an Alternative Break trip that redefined her purpose in life; she credits this change to her first and last trips.

Johnson went on her first trip as a freshman to Florida for ‘Give Kids the World,’ where she worked with children who had life-threatening illnesses. She was hooked but still did not understand what was going on.

“I used to always be focused on the medical side of things because that’s the field that I always wanted to go in, but being able to relate to the families and them sharing their personal stories made me think ‘maybe the route that I’ve wanted to go with my career is not the route that I want to continue,’” Johnson said.

Alternative Break trips have been a way for students to reflect what their plans in life are and learn about how to relate to other people.

“I think the Alternative Break program is really an amazing way for people to grow,” Sidney Llorance, co-chair of the Alternative Break Board, said. “I know that just like, even though its five days, and the more you go on it’s just such a big personal growth that happens within you and it’s just unavoidable, it’s going to happen.”

Deal said, “People talk about the service piece and putting that on job applications and resumes, and when you give up a week of your break to help other people employers and grad schools look at that and go ‘wow.’”