SIEO Offers Alternative Spring Break

SIEO is offering an alternative spring break trip this year for students, giving them the opportunity to go to New York City from March 16 to March 21 for a service trip.

“We are partnering with organizations that work with poverty and homelessness,” said Alanna LeClair, the service trip coordinator. “They will be sending us out to various sites each day to volunteer.”

At this point, LeClair cannot say what the teams will be doing because they will not find out until they arrive. Each team will also be exploring the city.

“We are going to be driving down to Milwaukee where we will be catching a plane to New York,” LeClair said. “Through the week, we will be taking the subways or walking everywhere we need to go.”

Students will be spending their spring break volunteering with the Youth Service Opportunities Project in New York to gain awareness about poverty as well as provide hands-on assistance with issues relating to poverty.

Katelyn Morici, a student majoring in elementary and special education, will be attending the service trip to New York and has also participated in previous alternative spring breaks.

“Last spring break I had the pleasure of traveling to New Orleans where I volunteered at various locations,” Morici said. “The trip was focused on disaster relief, so everyone I met in New Orleans was affected by Hurricane Katrina or had family and friends that were impacted by the natural disaster.”

The New York trip will give students an introduction to poverty through programs and activities such as soup kitchens and stories from homeless individuals. It will also give them a chance to make a difference in the lives of others.

“I am most looking forward to seeing the group of students grow as friends throughout the week,” LeClair said. “It will be great for all of us to bond through service, plus volunteering definitely changes a person’s world view.”

Morici, who has never been to New York, is excited to view the culture of the city and learn stories of people along the way.

“I am really looking forward to volunteering, the adventures of learning the subway system, getting lost in all the New York natives and discovering a new city,” Morici said. “I believe it will form great memories.”

Students will spend 30 to 35 hours during the week volunteering with free time at night to explore the city or spend time with other volunteers.

“Being able to bring what we’ve learned and the passion we’ve gained for the social issues is a big part of the trip,” LeClair said. “We hope to create active citizens, who are both well-informed and willing to take action in the issues that are happening in the community.”

Morici has grown up volunteering and helping people.

“I believe you do not truly appreciate all you have until you come in contact with the realities others face every day and reflect on the experiences,” Morici said. “By giving service to others I have been able to see all the blessings in my life.”

The cost of the New York trip was $450, but was spread over two payments and covers transportation to and from New York, housing, breakfast and lunch, some dinners, transportation within New York, and activities by SIEO.

“We have also been able to offset the other cost for students through fundraising,” LeClair said.

Some things that the trip does not cover include dinners on travel days, souvenirs, medical insurance, or entertainment while in New York. The fundraising will help balance the cost of these things.

“SIEO offers trips each fall and spring for people to volunteer. There are also continuous volunteer events throughout the semester,” LeClair said.

You can find additional volunteer opportunities on the SIEO website.

Rachel Pukall

rpuka198@uwsp.edu

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