Howard University students volunteer in Louisville as part of alternative spring break program

Alternative spring break program volunteers visit Ky. helping those affected by natural disastersAlternative spring break program volunteers visit Ky. helping t
Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 2:22 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In 1994, Howard University located in Washington, DC created a program called the Alternative Spring Break.

The mission focuses on helping communities hit by disasters, like the deadly tornadoes that hit Western Kentucky in 2021.

This week, 30 students in the program celebrated their spring breaks by volunteering in Louisville, 600 miles away from Howard University.

30 students came to the Commonwealth to create new possibilities for those who have lost their homes to natural disasters.

They worked with organizations like Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild hope.

“It means a lot, they are giving themselves,” Habitat for Humanity project manager Jason Brownlee said. “They took away their own spring break to enjoy it with us. It just says a lot about these guys out here.”

These students are donating their time to help communities like Louisville.

Dara Perkins Aragano is a freshman at Howard University. She said Louisville is special to her because of its resilience.

“I personally have been around the country and being from California, I have seen how fires can affect many people,” she said. ”How hurricanes have come through Florida and just in Mayfield we saw a lot of hurricane damage. Just seeing that, I feel a sense of I just want to help them out.”

The school sends hundreds of students to various communities nationwide and internationally. This week, the students spent time at the Salvation Army, helping to make food boxes, organize clothes and serve others at their café.

“When I was back in college, giving up my time and serving others was not my highest priority,” Director of Volunteer Services at Salvation Army Louisville: Jeremy Warf said. “These kids are giving up their spring break to come to serve others. I think the world would be a lot better place if we chose to help others in need.”

Looking back at all their accomplishments this week, Aragano described the experience as fulfilling.

She said next year, she hopes to be back in the commonwealth, because there’s more work to be done.

“After this week, I feel like we did reach out to the community here,” Aragano said. “We helped a little bit to get the ball rolling in helping people. I think there is a lot more that can be done here. I am hoping, as an organization, we come back and help out again.”

Showing others how donating a little time can leave a big impact.