Spring break at Fresno State is next week, but 32 students will forgo faraway beaches and nightclubs for hard hats, power tools, solar panels, playgrounds and kids games right here in Fresno.

Beginning Saturday March 28, students will complete two community service projects as part of Alternative Spring Break — the Every Neighborhood Partnership March 28-31 and GRID Alternatives Central Valley March 30 through April 2. (Individual sites and addresses below).

Within just one week the students will perform more than 1,091 hours of service through the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning and the University Student Union. The program is also designed to help students develop leadership skills through team building and communication; enhance their personal and professional development; and networking with other students and community benefit organizations.

The Every Neighborhood Partnership team of 20 students will be at Yokomi Elementary (2323 E. McKenzie Ave.). Led by team leader Alejandra Prado, they will address the needs of the community and serve as role models for youth in the Yokomi area.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, they will conduct a morning youth camp and facilitate interactive activities like sports, games and activities for children and families. This project also includes park beautification and graffiti abatement in local neighborhoods. On Sunday from 2-7 p.m. they will organize a carnival and movie night.

“We are excited to see Fresno State students’ willingness to invest part of their spring break giving back to the community,” said Prado, a social work and Chicano studies student. “We know each student will bring unique qualities and skills to this service experience.”

At the GRID Alternatives Central Valley site Tuesday through Thursday, ten student volunteers will work at two homes installing solar panels under team leader Angelica Robertson, a senior psychology major and a three-time Alternative Spring Break veteran.

Robertson’s team will help low-income families save money on energy. The project will also serve to support local community volunteers, job trainees and job seekers with hands-on experience installing solar panels in two Fresno homes.

The first installation will be Monday and Tuesday at 1334 E. McKenzie Ave. and the second will be Wednesday and Thursday at 280 N. College. Both home projects are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At the conclusion of each day of service, the teams will participate in reflection activities, discussing the impact of the students’ service on recipients, the service agencies, and the students, underlying issues and root causes affecting the community, reviewing the overall Alternative Spring Break experience including suggestions for improvements and reflecting on the role service can play in the students’ future.

The project concludes April 24 with a presentation on the students’ Alternative Spring Break experiences from 2 -4 p.m. at Henry Madden Library, room 3212.

For more information contact, Shawna Blair at 559.906.4169 or  si_programming@csufresno.edu.

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