Oh yes, it is that time of year again. If you have not already experienced the joy that is Spring Break 2008, you are likely counting down the days until this glorious, class-free week of sunsets on the beach and coconut-scented tanning oil. Nationwide, 20-somethings bond with friends while taking road trips to Mexico or Florida, or a trip home to see the folks. Spring break has long been associated with rest and relaxation for the middle-class to affluent college student.
But for people living life on the other end of the spectrum, spring break week is nothing to celebrate. Class may be out, but here are some statistics to consider: 560,000 people died of cancer last year; currently, 1.1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water; in America, approximately one in four adults suffers from a mental disorder; and there are countless other debilitating circumstances people around us and around the world battle every day. Fortunately, there is something we can do.
This year, consider spending your spring break—that all too short week—giving to those in need. Here at RELEVANT we have made life a little easier for you by doing some research, and compiling a list of a few of the many great opportunities available nationwide.
Blood: Water Mission is an organization dedicated to providing clean blood (free of AIDS and HIV) and clean water to those in a part of the world where people watch their family and friends die every day due to preventable diseases. You can volunteer for Blood: Water Mission by working the Passion Conference held in Atlanta on April 11th. (If you can’t make it for spring break, you can also participate in the Well Bike Tour, which starts June 6th, where individuals will ride from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to raise money and awareness for Blood: Water Mission.)
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity has been making great strides in helping to restore homes for survivors of the 2005 hurricanes, but not without the help of tens of thousands of volunteers. To be a part of the recovery effort visit:
The Chicago YWCA is always looking for volunteers, whether you are an individual or you have a group. Their website lists skills the Y is looking for in volunteers. If you are into photography, graphic design, advertising or writing/editing, then there are opportunities for you to help out with the YWCA. Put those college courses to work and invest in an organization that has helped countless individuals.
Walk for the Mind of America
April 19th in San Diego County there will be a walk for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The annual Walk for the Mind of America serves to raise funds and awareness for mental illness. Walks take place in several cities; so if you are not in San Diego, fret not.
Relay for Life
Grab your friends and start a team or simply join one and be a part of Relay for Life, an incredible opportunity to partner with the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer. The New York City race will be held April 12th at New York University, with tons of other walks going on throughout the months of April and May.
American Red Cross
Lastly, if you can’t break those spring break plans, consider doing
something as simple as giving blood to the American Red Cross before you leave. Every donation can save three lives, so you’ll be able to start off your break with a healthy dose of goodwill and friendly activism.
Even if spring break is already over for you, there are plenty of summer programs you can get involved with as well; so with a little research, you’re sure to find people you can give hope to this year.