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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

December 13, 2001 Contact: Bryant Payne, (312) 355-2523, bpayne2@uic.edu


Four teams of students from the University of Illinois at Chicago will spend a week of their semester break volunteering at social-service agencies across the country as part of the Alternative Spring Break program.

Alternative Spring Break is a student-run organization that educates college volunteers about specific social issues by immersing them in diverse cultures and environments. The service-oriented learning program places teams of UIC students in volunteer and community-service sites for a week during semester break and the entire spring break.

"Groups of students from a diversity of majors, led by two site leaders, work in conjunction with a volunteer agency to focus on a wide variety of social issues, such as hunger, homelessness, rural poverty, HIV/AIDS and racism," said Jennifer Kosco, assistant to the dean of the UIC Honors College and program adviser. "Each program takes participants out of their sheltered university communities and gives them the opportunity to experience these critical issues first hand."

One group of students will interact with underprivileged children, ages 4 to 17, on a Native-American reservation in Eagle Butte, S.D. Students will also assist in fundraising efforts within the community and may engage in some light building work in fixing fences or building porches.

Another group of volunteers will travel to Greenville, S.C. to work with girls ages 10 to 18 that have experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse and are now living at the Crossroads residential group home. Volunteers in the past have painted murals, tutored at the on-site school and participated in outdoor field days.

A third group of UIC students traveling to Oklahoma City, Okla. will help build a house under the Habitat for Humanity program.

AIDS Support Services in Mobile, Ala. will have UIC volunteers assist clients that have been hospitalized or homebound. Students will call or drop in as needed to lift spirits and offer support. Volunteers will assist with yard work, pet care, delivering donated furniture items and grocery shopping.

"The Alternative Spring Break program offers students the opportunity to become more aware of the world around them and more motivated to impact it through volunteerism," said Kosco. "UIC's students have been to some amazing places and done some great work over the last four years. The excitement and pride I hear in the students' voices after their trips is truly inspiring."

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