Ten Washburn University students spent their spring break, March 19-23, working to provide tornado relief in Joplin, Mo. On May 22, 2011, an F5 tornado slammed the area, causing billions of dollars in damage and killing hundreds. The students assisted with reconstruction of the devastated area through debris removal (coordinated by Americorps); home repair (coordinated by Hammer’s and Hearts); and animal care at a local humane shelter. The rainy weather limited the volunteer site options, but the students persevered.
While on break, students were able to interact with volunteers California, Iowa, Oklahoma, University of Kansas, and many other states and organizations. The students were housed at New Creation Evangelical Presbyterian.
Alternative break programs allow students to perform short term projects and give students opportunities to learn about the problems faced by members of communities with whom they otherwise may have had little or no direct contact.
Being completely immersed into diverse environments enables participants to experience, discuss, and understand social issues in a significant way. The intensity of the experience increases the likelihood that participants will transfer the lessons learned on-site back to their own communities even after the alternative break ends.
Students who volunteered are listed below by hometown (year at Washburn and major):
Abilene: Bonnie McKee, junior, chemistry
Lebo: Shelby Robke, sophomore, elementary education with an emphasis in middle school English and language arts
Ozawkie: Micaela Sands, freshman, undecided
Shawnee: Samantha Finley, sophomore, nursing; Laura Highland, junior, kinesiology, exercise physiology; Meredith Todd, junior, nursing
Spring Hill: Yulieth Armstrong, sophomore, psychology and Spanish
Stockton: Hayley Strutt, sophomore, nursing
Topeka: Ryann Vobach, junior, elementary education with an emphasis in adaptive special education; Joshua Wurtz, senior, computer information science
Each winter and spring break, the Washburn Alternative Spring Break program, a student led and directed organization sponsored by Learning in the Community (LinC): The Center for Community Service and Civic Engagement takes a group of students to another community to complete service for approximately one week.
Washburn Alternative Break Program sponsored the trip. For more information, contact Joshua Wurtz at (785) 670-1950.
Amanda Hughes, university relations, (785) 670-2153