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Alternative Spring Break service creates camaraderie and new perspective on life

Linfield students, professors and staff recently fanned out across the Western U.S. to engage in service-learning, volunteering with youth, families and even wolves.

During Alternative Spring Break, students spent a week in Tacoma, Wash., where they worked with Habitat for Humanity to build foundations for homes, working alongside local families to shovel and haul gravel. In a recent presentation, they said they came away with sore muscles, big smiles and new friends.

Another group traveled to Seattle, Wash., where they helped empower youth who had experienced neglect, poverty or abuse. They cooked meals for homeless teens and played with children, ending each day with shared reflections and group singing.

A third group spent time at a wolf reserve in Colorado, where they were greeted with a symphony of howling wolves upon arrival. Students built fences and roads and helped install a solar panel for Mission: Wolf, an organization that provides a safe environment for rescued wolves.

“We got away from our lives, away from our studies and classes, and all that matters is what you can contribute,” says Terran Sobel-Smith ’15.

Alexis (“Lexi”) Heredia ’15 said the trip, for her group, meant late night conversations and incredible bonding. “Our experiences put life into perspective,” she says.

Linfield College students provided almost 1,000 hours of service during spring break.

During the past year, more than 900 students contributed almost 50,000 volunteer hours to local and global communities. The school was recently named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for leadership in civic engagement and service-learning. 

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