Alternative Spring Break gets students to give back

Eric Wickham
News Reporter

Education does not always have to stay in the classroom.

This Reading Week, Humber students have the opportunity to put down their books and take their first steps in becoming active and engaged citizens.
The Humber Alternative Spring Break is a three-day event that offers Humber students an opportunity to give back to the community.
This is the fourth year of Humber Alternative Spring Break.  The college will partner with The Redwood, Habitat for Humanity and the Knights Table in three separate events over Reading Week.
Project coordinator Rebeca Mahadeo says this year’s event will be the most popular in its four-year history.

“It has been pretty overwhelming. Ever since we promoted the program I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries from Humber students. Two of the three days are fully booked,” said Mahadeo.

Mahadeo first became involved with the Humber Alternative Spring Break to help students get involved in the community.

“It is an important piece of growing and learning as a student,” she said.
“It is good to … take your knowledge from the classroom and put it out there in the community,” she said.

Guelph-Humber Family and Community Social Services student Mikki Decker, 24, said she was excited to make friends and get involved in the city of Toronto.

“I just hope to have a good time, and make people smile and laugh. Just do something a little bit different,” said Decker.

“At the end of the day, when you have fed 20 kids that don’t get food every day, that’s when you know you have done something incredible,” she said.

Tuesday is the first day of the event. Humber ASB will begin at Habitat for Humanity.
“We will go to Habitat for Humanity Restore, it is a warehouse where they have all the supplies and building materials for building the home,” said Mahadeo.

The next day is spent in Brampton at Knights Table food bank, helping prepare a meal for the residents.

The final day of the event takes place at The Redwood, a safe haven for abused women and children.

“We are going to help sort donations at their shelter, and we are also going help prepare a meal for the women and children. We are going to run an activities group for the children as well. It is the year of the sheep for the Chinese New Year, so we are going to do a sheep craft,” she said.

The Redwood’s volunteer coordinator Evelynn Ogwang says she is excited her organization will be working with Humber. She said it was important for students to experience The Redwood in person.

“When students interact with the women, the impact is personal.” she said.

Mahadeo said she wants to help Humber help its students become better citizens.
“This (Humber Alternative Spring Break) would really give students the opportunity to go out there and practice those skills,” she said.

Mahadeo beamed when she spoke about the increase in student interest in Humber Alternative Spring Break.

“Last year we really struggled with attendance. I think ASB is really gaining momentum year after year at Humber,” she said.