The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Alternative Spring Break

My experience on the 2024 Alternative Spring Break

This year, I was given the amazing opportunity to be a part of Tarleton State University’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB). Alternative Spring Break is a seven-day service based trip offered by Tarleton State’s Center for Leadership, Service, and Outreach.

This year, the trip was based in Memphis, Tennessee and lasted from Saturday, March 9 to March 16. We got the opportunity to work with six non-profit organizations including Serve901, The Heights Community Development Center, The Room in the Inn Memphis, Mid-South Food Bank, Girls Inc. Memphis, and the Landmark Training Development Company.

Serve901 was the company that we resided with. They mainly assist with planning service trips for colleges and universities including alternative spring break groups, businesses, leadership organizations, sororities and fraternities, church groups, and more.

There were 29 people total that attended ASB on behalf of Tarleton State, and we were split evenly  into five small groups so that we could volunteer at more nonprofit organizations. Of the five student groups, three of the small groups were together serving each day, while the other two groups were together at another location  serving at other nonprofits.

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On Monday, March 11, we started our first day of service. The group that I was in started the morning at Mid-South Food Bank. This was my first time serving at a food bank and it was so much fun.

We sorted through food items while checking the expiration date, and then we separated each item into the right food group. Canned food (fruits and veggies), canned meat, breakfast items, and other categories each had their own designated section. These items were then packaged together to be sent out to families in need. We packed around 2,000 pounds of food, which helped around 150 families.

Our afternoon was spent at Girls Inc. Memphis. This is an organization that advocates for young women and inspires these young women to be “Smart, Strong, and Bold,” which is their well-fitting motto. They help young women between the ages of 5-18, and have helped over 2,000 girls at no cost.

“The Girls Inc. Experience empowers girls to succeed. Girls Inc. provides girls with trusting, mentoring relationships; a girls-only environment, and research-based, hands-on programming. Three critical goals drive our programming – that girls lead healthy lives, succeed academically and have life skills needed to prepare them for adulthood. To meet our goal of girls leading healthy lives, we work to ensure that girls have the skills, knowledge, and support to take charge of their health and increase healthy behaviors throughout their lives,” the Girls Inc. Memphis website stated.

Tuesday morning, my group went to Landmark Training Development Company, a nonprofit with a goal of creating economically sustainable communities for the families surrounding the Mid-South area. We mainly helped the Landmark Training Development Company by cleaning up one of the lots they had by pulling weeds and creating divots in the ground for them to plant seeds for pine trees.

Landmark Training Development Company also has a Farmers Market that sells locally produced food and all natural products. The owners were so kind and opened the Farmers Market for us if we wanted to purchase anything. They had many different kinds of tea and other natural remedies that helped with many things like anxiety, thyroid issues, diabetes, and more.  I personally bought their sleep aid drops which have drastically improved  my quality of sleep.

Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday, and Thursday morning my group was at Girls Inc. Memphis. We did many different things such as helping organize their inventory of prizes and merchandise for their girls, spending time with the girls, helping the facilitators, sorting food, and creating feminine product pouches.

Thursday afternoon, both groups volunteered at the Mid-South Food Bank together. It was on this day when we helped pack bags of Fruit Loops to be sent to local families in need. This was the only time the entire Tarleton State group served together, and it was amazing to see the teamwork and connections that everyone developed with each other by the end of the week.

The other two groups spent their time at the Mid-South Food Bank, The Heights Community Development Center, and The Room in the Inn Memphis. The Heights CDC helps The Heights community by purchasing blighted homes and flipping them to a higher standard. They then rent those homes out to families at an affordable cost.

The Room in the Inn Memphis is a congregation that offers shelters to those in need during the cold months from November 1 to March 31.

At the end of each night, we would spend time in our small groups exploring different topics in depth like empathy, our comfort zone, the art of contentment, and respect. These lessons helped strengthen our knowledge of the aforementioned topics as well as form long-lasting connections within our group.

We also got the opportunity to see some of the famous attractions in Memphis like the Civil Rights Museum, the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid, Beale Street, and Graceland.

This experience also exposed me more to Tarleton Serves, a service based organization here at Tarleton State. This organization, along with the advisors, planned this entire trip and led the small group discussions. I am super thankful to have worked alongside them and am excited to volunteer at more events with Tarleton Serves.

Overall, my experience while participating with Tarleton State’s ASB was by far one of my most favorite and most impactful trips that I have been on. I loved serving at all of the nonprofits that we went to, and I loved helping with making a difference in Memphis.

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Madison Thornton
Madison Thornton, Staff Writer

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