Veteran Alternative Spring Break Participant Reflects on Experiences
Veteran Alternative Spring Break Participant Reflects on Experiences

by Stephen Shepherd ’16

During Alternative Spring Break (ASB), I was placed in the Connecticut Food Bank. I volunteered there one day of my ASB two years ago when their location was in East Haven, and I enjoyed it. Now they have a brand-new, enormous facility in Wallingford.

From the moment you start the week of service, you know that the help you are giving is truly appreciated, between the upbeat and cordial staff to, in the case of the food bank, the sheer amount of food that needs to be sorted throughout each day.

One of the head staff members told me a very touching fact: Because of volunteer efforts, the CT Food Bank saves around $500,000 in labor costs per year. That is absolutely amazing to me, and I am glad I could do a small part to help this wonderful charity.

Click here to see a gallery of photos.

I have volunteered for ASB every spring of my undergraduate career because I want to make the most of my time. I knew that I would inevitably wind up lying on the couch at home and watching mind-numbing television all day if I went home for spring break.

Instead, I would like to give back to the community that has done so much for me. As my academic and extracurricular lives have grown busier and busier, I have found that ASB is an outlet for me to “catch up” on the community service I cannot manage time for in my everyday life. Often, you form new friendships or grow pre-existing friendships with other volunteers in the program, too.

Stephen Shepherd is a forensic science major. Throughout his four years taking part in the Alternative Spring Break program, he has volunteered at New Haven Reads, Habitat for Humanity, the West Haven Child Development Center, New Haven Home Recovery, IRIS, the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, Connecticut Children's Museum and Christian Community Action.

He was one of the 27 students who participated in UNH’s 14th annual ASB program. They volunteered at nonprofits and community agencies in West Haven and New Haven.

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