By Paris Riley
Photo By: Ryan Hamiton, 
Bree Grant & Ashanti Wilson 

Every year, Howard University participates in something called Alternative Spring Break or ASB. Hundreds of students give up their spring break to make a difference in the community. This year students volunteered in Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, DC, and new for this year, Haiti. The types of volunteer activities vary from year to year and place to place. However, they always focus on bettering and uplifting the communities they serve.
In Detroit this year students gave back to the community by tutoring elementary, middle, and high school students in literacy. The Howard students who attended were also presented with the prestigious Spirit of Detroit award for their work by the Detroit City Council. The students who went to Atlanta, New Orleans, and DC also mentored students, put on programs, and rebuilt communities.
Sophomore Ashanti Wilson commented that “basically my ASB Detroit Trip could be summed up into one word, rewarding. Not only did I learn and grow from the experience in a positive way but I hope the impact that we left on the students is one that will last them beyond this week.” Many students that participated in ASB shared her sentiments including Atlanta ASB participant Lacrisha Holcomb. Holcomb stated that she “grew so much in that one week and [is] thankful for the experience.”
This year a small group of students were given the great honor of being selected for ASB Haiti. While in Haiti they aided with building an enclosure around an orphanage and taught students in math, English, and art. Upon returning to DC, Senior Ryan Hamilton posted this on a social networking site “Haiti is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The Beautiful Culture, The Beautiful People, The Beautiful Scenery, I am definitely grateful.”
Without a doubt all of the students who participated in alternative spring break 2011 have left their respective cities with a feeling of accomplishment and the communities forever impacted.




By Paris E. Riley

Howard University '13, Public Relations


  1. As a current junior at Howard who participated in Alternative Spring Break Detroit my freshman year, I can wholeheartedly agree with the comments stated above. I still keep in touch with some of the students I met at Highland Park High School two years ago and I honestly feel as though in that one week I spent mentoring, I was able to make a positive impact on someone else’s life. When it was time for me to graduate from high school I can remember that the question I faced was not WHETHER or not I was going to further my education but a matter of WHERE? Believe it or not, many of the students we met that week hadn’t even considered going to college let alone an HBCU like Howard. Yes, their school was in an city know for the highest illiteracy rates & lowest graduation rates, but I personally felt like this was because of a lack of motivation. Through this great opportunity I was able to provide a voice of inspiration to to these kids and let them know that they didn’t have to settle for being a product of their environment. We encouraged them to work hard and dream bigger because not only is education key, but as young African Americans, society is already predicting our futures as statistics. We all have to do our part to prove them wrong and change these negative impressions of youth in black communities like Detroit.

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