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Wait… people actually volunteer?
A look inside the SU Volunteer Service program known as Alternative Spring Break.
It’s reading break, and everyone is excited to just have a week to binge at their favourite TV series or get back the sleep they lost over the winter semester. However, there’s a group of 18 students that have signed up for a three day volunteer program. It’s called “Alternative Spring Break”. They devote three days of their reading break to go into the Calgary community to lend a helping hand and volunteer at various non-profit organizations. This is no walk in the park, the days start as early as 8:00 a.m. and go until 4:30 p.m. while they volunteer for the whole day, even eating lunch in cars while they travel to their next destination.
What the students get out of the program is a greater sense of community engagement, or just merely learning about how many great non-profit organizations there are in Calgary. To see the students listening closely to the tour guide in the two hour tour we got at the Drop-In Rehab Centre reassured me that these students are genuinely interested in giving up time in their break to learn and to give back to their community.
We also got a chance to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to work on restoring a house near the Bowness River that got damaged by the floods in the summer of 2013. Although it took our group the whole day to put up two small patches of vapour barrier up onto the ceilings, the group did not feel defeated and took it as a learning opportunity.
I can honestly say everyone one in the group has the kindest, warmest hearts ever. After leading Alternative Spring break this year, I feel some of our everyday worries such as cramming for an exam, or wondering if our crush will text us back are so miniscule that we sometimes overlook all the wonderful things we already take for granted in life.
Peter Ip is a third year student in Energy Management with a minor in Development Studies. He aspires to be the future host of the Food Network. You can find him @pistolpetez on twitter and Instagram.