Jill Levine of Woodbridge, CT who, along with 10 groups and about 100 of their fellow UVM students, participated in the University of Vermont Alternative Spring Break program – a student-led, week long program that provides UVM students with an opportunity to travel and involve themselves in service-work focused around a number of social issues in communities throughout the nation during their spring recess.
This year Jill traveled to New Orleans, LA, where they worked with Lower Nine. The Lower Ninth Ward is a neighborhood in New Orleans that was hit the hardest during hurricane Katrina and Rita in 2005. All of the homes in this ward were deemed uninhabitable after the hurricanes. Lower Nine is a nonprofit organization that was organized to help rebuild homes and infrastructure in the Lower Ninth Ward. The nonprofit’s work is essential to the rebuilding of this neighborhood because of discrimination associated with the contractors and government policies that were enacted shortly after the hurricanes. It is worth noting, that prior to hurricane Katrina 67% of New Orleans population was noted to be African – American. A total of 70% of New Orleans occupied housing was damaged in the storm, and the population of New Orleans in 2006 was half of what it had been in 2005 before the storms. In 2018 the population had increased but had not bounced back to its pre-storm population. More information on Lower Nine can be found at https://lowernine.org/.
For over 25 years the UVM Alternative Spring Break program has provided UVM students with service opportunities during their spring recess – including work around homelessness, hunger, urban gardening, disaster relief, environmental conservation and more. Since its start in 1991, over 3,000 students have participated in the program, providing over 120,000 hours of service to community partner organizations throughout the nation.
This year, UVM students participating in ASB traveled to 9 states, working with over 10 organizations to complete service work throughout the week.