Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another Great Alternative Spring Break Experience

Hello, my name is Darian Perry. I am a sophomore at the University of Memphis pursuing a nursing degree.  Also, I am the student coordinator for Alternative Spring Break Staycation.  I can’t fully explain how great of an experience ASB Staycation was for me. Every day of ASB Staycation consisted of service, fun, and new experiences for every one of us.  I am so thankful to have the group of people that participated in ASB Staycation because they are the ones who made this week a memorable one for me. Each and every one of the participants had their own personality which made the group diverse yet perfectly bonded.  I admired their hard work and dedication which made every service project productive and successful.  One of the greatest aspects of every service project we did was the fun that we had while serving.  We really enjoyed each other’s company which made it easy for us to work together and make the best of every moment. After participating in ASB last year, I knew that Alternative Spring Break was going to be my plans for Spring Break this year.  That is how much of a great experience ASB was for me! Being able to devote my entire Spring Break to serve in the community has been more fun and more memorable than any other Spring Break.  I really urge students to participate in Alternative Spring Break.  Not only are you serving the community, but you are getting the opportunity to experience new things that you never have before.  While participating in ASB Staycation, I learned and experienced A LOT in Memphis.  Memphis has so many different things to offer.  Throughout the whole week, we were able to explore Memphis.  When I say explore Memphis, we were able to get a “taste of Memphis” by going to different local restaurants/dessert places such as the Memphis Pizza CafĂ©, the Trolley Stop Market, A. Schwab, the Bar-B-Que Shop, Gus’s Fried Chicken,  the Cheesecake Corner,  Jerry’s Sno Cones, and Boscos. We were able to experience Memphis by doing a lot of things that Memphis is known for like going to see the Peabody Duck March, touring Beale Street/Cooper Young/ Overton Square, going to the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, taking photos at the three “I Love Memphis”  walls (that was definitely an adventure),  going on the Memphis

Riverboat Cruise, and going to see The Diary of Anne Frank at the Playhouse on the Square.  The places we went to and the things we got to do most of us had never done before.  I definitely enjoyed everything about ASB Staycation. It is great to know that there are other universities who have an ASB for their students. Thursday, we had an “ASB collaboration” with Sam Houston State University’s Alternative Spring Break
group serving for Promise Development Corporation.  We were able to accomplish our task of tidying up a community garden that was buried beneath leaves, sticks, trash, and grass. We were all amazed at the beauty of the community garden after we had finished the project.  Sam Houston State University was a great group of students and thanked us for letting them join our service project.  Honestly, all thanks went to them because we definitely couldn’t have tackled that project as swiftly and successfully without their help. Our last service project was with Habitat for Humanity on Friday. They are gearing up for their 2014 Spring Build and we were able to take part in building one of the homes.  Many of the participants were able to experience the hard work and dedication it takes to build a home.  We participated in roofing, siding, and nailing. I honestly never want to see a hammer and nail again (laughing, but very serious). Overall, our hard work and dedication paid off after we saw the progress that was made toward the completion of the home. Looking back over the week, I must say that I am proud of the way ASB Staycation turned out.  It was an AMAZING week!! I would like to give thanks to the people at Knowledge Quest, Shelby Farms, St. John’s Soup Kitchen, Door of Hope, Promise Development Corporation, and Habitat for Humanity for allowing us to serve with them and making their service projects a great experience for us!!! Also, I would like to give a special thank you to Latorria Griffith, our ASB Staycation Advisor, for getting us to our service projects and contributing to all the fun we had this week!

Bitter sweet

Dillon Scott-Holliam
Senior Health Admin major
Of course this is a bitter sweet process but everything must come to an end. My excitement and remorse comes not only from our experience being over but knowing that I may never be able to experience it again. My departure from the university due to graduation made me soak every possible opportunity in!

Our last service day consisted of visiting a senior center and partaking in the "festivities" that occurred I got to witness seniors play what is called "bean bag baseball" as we'll see the cheerleaders (our ASB crew) cheer them on. We were rewarded the opportunity to serve them as well as interact with them.

Afterwards we sorted and organized one of the newer facilities they were going to offer the senior citizens, during the project we got to see Angie's (our cooordinator ) mother! It was a privileged serving the seniors in all possible ways, in return they paid for ice cream at this location called "Shakes" which was delectable !

The week as a whole was rewarding yet exhausting, I'm thankful that my senior year was again well spent participating in my third ASB! I exciting to see where they may end up next year!

The Last Service

To conclude the last leg of our ASB tour, we visited seniors who decided that congregating with each other is better than being alone. As members of the Faulkner County Senior Wellness and Activity Center, these people, who are sixty and older engage in social activities such as exercising, bingo, and sporting games to name a few. A sporting game we got to watch and cheer on was Bean bag Baseball which consisted on the Shakers and the Blazers competing on who would acquire the most bases. As we cheered on these teams, I could not help but feel the warmth that radiated from the atmosphere. In addition, there was no doubt that they appreciated us being there as we not only watched but enjoyed the game being played.
Following the game, a representative of that particular district spoke to the seniors on hunger in the state. He elaborated by stating that Arkansas was number one in the country for elderly hunger. I was also shocked when he revealed that one in five persons in the state went to bed hungry. Subsequently, I was reassured that the seniors in that center were not part of that statistic because a hearty lunch is served to them everyday. As lunch was enjoyed,  I conversed with four lovely ladies who gave me life advice in blunt fashion only older people can efficiently execute. They fussed over my picky eating like I was one of their grandchildren. Unfortunately when it was time to depart, it felt bitter sweet. I knew I would never forget these people and their courage to continue to still live life.
After our interactions with the seniors, our group ventured to the new place they will be meeting in. Since the seniors would not be in the new location until July of this year, we were expected to clean and help with simple renovations. With that in mind, I was ecstatic that they would be meeting in a bigger and nicer facility.
 So to sum it up, meeting those senior citizens taught me that life will inevitably age us, but our hearts will remain as young as we allow it.

Mimi Ijeoma Duru

Friday, March 14, 2014

ASB Destination: Serviceland

My name is Bre'yocha Mays and I am a freshman Pre-Nursing major at the University of Memphis. I chose to participate in Alternative Spring Break because I understand the importance of serving communities and the duration of Spring break was the perfect opportunity to serve.

Our day started with a tour of Heifer Ranch outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. Heifer is an organization that once provided animals to families as a way of teaching them how to survive. Heifer has never been, or will be, a relief program! Heifer no longer ships animals off (from the U.S., but rather from areas neighboring those they are serving.) It serves as an educational organization that made a great impact on our group. Mrs. Berta showed us a video that provided great insight to the importance of the animals that Heifer shipped off. The animals served as a gateway opportunity to education for the women of Nepal, India. Owning an animal also provided encouragement and motivation for the women to have their own voice in society as well. Heifer Ranch is filled with llamas, camels, chickens, hogs, cattle, water buffalo, and goats. Mrs. Berta provided educational information about each animal and even gave us the chance to feed the camel apples! (I was too scared to participate!) Heifer also provided a very eye-opening look to other parts of the world with its Global Village. The Global Village had setups to show us what it would be like to live in houses of Guatemala, Thailand, Zambia, and the slums. Being at Heifer Ranch hit home with me because it brought me to memories of my younger days when my cousins and I used to explore in the woods. We also had a clubhouse that resembled the slums a lot! This experience caused me to be grateful and appreciative of my life and all that I have been given.

After leaving Heifer Ranch, we drove to the Arkansas Food Bank. At the food bank, we unpackaged many boxes of food and sorted them into categories. We had to be very careful when checking expiration dates so that no harm would come to those receiving the food. I enjoyed being at the food bank because our group worked so hard and in sync to finish our task. It was so fun and a team-building experience!  I also learned that food banks are very important because they provide food for many different surrounding populations, and that food banks sort of get the first call for disaster relief.

Next, we drove to Little Rock Central High School to tour the museum and get a view of the school
up close. It was a great experience to actually see the school in person and get a feel of life in the 50's and 60's by visiting the museum. Little Rock Central High School made me realize and appreciate the importance of education. I am so grateful to have had the chance to visit this historic location and learn many facts about it.

Alternative Spring Break has been a great experience to me and I have absorbed a lot of knowledge, facts, and skills from it. I have also developed many friendships along the way! ASB will hold many memories and I look forward to another one in the future!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Perfect Day

My name is Annika Bailey I am a junior pre nursing major at the University of Memphis. Alternative Spring Break has been a wonderful experience and I would recommend this program to anyone. I was a little skeptical at first about coming but I am glad that I decided to do it. This was a good way to spend my spring break. Today has been a great day. First we went on the tour at the Heifer Ranch. It was my first time touring a ranch and it was huge! The video they showed in the beginning showed a lot. It was very eye opening to se
e how the slums looked. Seeing that made me appreciate so much more and be grateful. We later went to the Food Bank where we packaged food. We all worked together and got the job done. This was my first time actually working in the food bank. That night we went out to eat and I enjoyed the food. I have had a lot of fun because the people on this trip has become so close. I couldn't have asked for a better group to be with. We have laughed, joked with one another and more but after this trip I know we will all hang again.  We all could relate to one another in some form or fashion. I was able to visit places I have never been before and it was a great experience.

ASB Staycation Loves Memphis!!!

ASB Staycation at Door of Hope

ASB Staycation Participants inside cleaning, doing outside work, and preparing lunch.
ASB Staycation and the residents of Door of Hope.

Lunch prepared and served by ASB Staycation Participants.