By John Falvey

For the past 12 years, Old Dominion University's Office of Leadership and Student Involvement has offered students a chance to make a difference with their spring break.

This year's Alternative Break trip will see ODU students travel to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, where they will volunteer at a food bank, crisis center, community garden and veterans shelter.

"The Alternative Break program at ODU strives to educate and inspire students to create and enact change in communities around the country and the world," said Amy-Leah Joaquim, assistant director for service learning at Old Dominion. "The goal of this program is to strengthen participants' citizenship within the global community through education, reflection and direct service."

The volunteer projects give students the ability to immerse themselves in a new community, meet community members, and analyze social issues affecting citizens. The service projects have been identified in collaboration with community members and organizations in the area.

"These service trips are really impactful experiences for students that can change their perspective on their communities and their career goals," Joaquim said. "We've had multiple students choose to return to their service site on their own to complete additional work and discover or confirm a passion for service work."

Some of those past participants will be team leaders for this spring's trip.

Last year, students also traveled to Wilmington, N.C., to help aid in the relief efforts for Hurricane Florence.

For more information contact the ODU Office of Leadership & Student Involvement.

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