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March 7, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Students spend break volunteering

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Thirty-two Slippery Rock University students are using their spring break to provide community service to three U.S. cities as part of the University's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership Care Break program.

The students, who organize and implement the service-learning programs, will travel to Savannah, Ga., Salem, Va., and Jacksonville, Fla., as part of the March 16-23 break from classes.

The 11 students headed to Savannah will help with trail and ground maintenance, painting, light construction work, moving dirt to fill erosion, trimming back vegetation, cleaning greenhouse and kindergarten buildings, pressure washing, trimming between animal fences, bagging compost for sale, deep cleaning raptor cages, and spring clean-up of the pollination garden, said Justin Vallorani, an SRU graduate assistant in charge of volunteer programs with CSIL.

They will also be involved in helping set up a Sheep Shearing Festival.

Seven SRU volunteers headed to Salem, Va., will work with a Quality Assurance Food Program at Feeding America Southwest Virginia. The project includes processing donated food, including checking expiration dates, sorting and preparing food for distribution to the program's clients, Vallorani said.

Those lending a hand in Jacksonville, Fla., will help with a variety of tasks, including work at the Clara White Mission, which serves breakfast to nearly 350 people, working with disabled adults at a craft workshop, working at the Dignity U Wear clothing warehouse that supplies new clothes to organizations for distribution to needy residents, and helping at a local habitat affiliate.

The SRU Care Break program offers an extended service-learning experience that gives students the chance to make a difference in the lives of people at home and around the world, to practice academic skills, and to develop memories that last a lifetime.

The first Care Break was in March 1994 when 30 students drove to Valmeyer, Ill., to offer help following the massive Mississippi River floods.

In addition to the traditional spring break Care Break progam, students now also offer winter and summer community-learning programs and some weekend breaks.

More than 1,200 SRU students, faculty and staff have participated in the program since its inceptions. Theyhave provided more than 200,000 hours of community service tutoring students children, building low-income housing, assisting the homeless and hungry and protecting the environment.

In addition to visits to such cities as New Orleans (six trips since Katrina) and Houston, Texas, East St. Louis, Ill (five trips), Atlanta, Ga., (three trips), Phoenix, Ariz. (three years), and Las Vegas, Nev. (two years), the program has also traveled internationally to nine countries, including St. Lucia, West Indies.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.