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Alternative Spring Break Comes to Columbiana County

Posted Mar. 25, 2010


Alternative Spring Break Comes to Columbiana County

Students from across the Kent State University eight-campus system are coming to Columbiana County as part of the University’s “Alternative Spring Break” program. The week-long event pairs teams of college students with area non-profit organizations.  Each day, students will head out to a worksite and volunteer doing a range of activities.

“This is the first time Alternative Spring Break has come to Columbiana County,” said Local Coordinator Rachael Esterly.  “The program began five years ago after Katrina hit. Administrators at the Kent Campus rounded up a group of students and spent their spring break down in the Gulf,” she said. “Last year was the final time we took an organized trip down to Biloxi. Now, we’re looking at trips closer to home.”

Esterly said students are going to West Virginia, New York, Washington D.C. and Columbiana County. Depending on the trip, students will work with Habitat for Humanities and Push – People for Sustainable Housing and at both a women’s shelter and a homeless shelter. They will also learn about social justice issues including mountaintop removal and poverty.

Here at home, Esterly arranged for work teams to assist area home owners associated with the Salvation Army in East Liverpool. In addition, students will help out The Way Station in East Liverpool and Columbiana, the City of East Liverpool and the county parks department.

“One of our largest projects is cleaning and repairing The Greenway Bike Trail and Hellbender Bluff,” Esterly said. “Both are projects that grants and donations created and volunteers are needed to maintain.”

Other projects include cleaning gutters, preparing for and painting the homes of shut-ins, single parents and the elderly through the East Liverpool Salvation Army. Students will also help clean and update facilities of the local Way Stations. In addition, the Alternative Spring Break program will work with the City of East Liverpool on making the city more safe and friendly.

During the week the 26 students will sleep at the Salem Campus and see area attractions such as Homer Laughlin China Company and the Lou Holtz Hall of Fame. In the evening, students will participate in programs put on by Kent State faculty and staff. These programs include learning more about the health and environmental issues and other challenges Appalachian counties face. On Tuesday evening, Associate Professor Dr. Craig Paulenich will present his award-winning poetry.