The Alternative Break Trip is a tradition here at APSU. The trips are designed to give students a chance to visit a state or country, they have never been to before, all in the name of service. The tradition continued this fall break with a trip to St. Louis, Missouri.  

Trip leaders are in charge of picking the location and the organization to help.

“I decided to partner with LifeWise because they focus on poverty in the inner-city community of St. Louis,” trip leader Alexandra Atu said.  

LifeWise is an organization that focuses on aiding the community. Programs include after school tutoring for children, senior aid and companionship for senior citizens and talks and seminars for young moms. The facility is complete with classrooms, a thrift store, a food pantry and a gym. 

Many nonprofits get the bulk of their donations in the fall, because of the holidays, so students saw a lot of donation shorting as well.  

APSU Student volunteers served St. Louis communities in need during fall break. KYREN HARVEY | THE ALL STATE

“I enjoy the fact that LifeWise opens up the opportunity to help everybody. I feel like that’s really important—to not focus on one specific group or one specific area,” APSU sophomore Katarina Black said.

“My favorite thing was being able to observe and see just how much our community is affected by certain things, such as poverty,” Black adds.  

The trip is not all work as there are excursions included in the fee. Students got to visit the Gateway Arch and Saint Louis Zoo. 

APSU’s Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement is behind the trips. The center’s coordinator, Emily Seeney chaperoned the trip. “The center is all about volunteerism and community engagement as a whole and part of that is our Alternative Breaks program. Anytime class isn’t in session, over any break, we take students to really cool locations and really get them involved in a volunteering project,” she said. 

This is Seeney’s and Atu’s second St. Louis trip, as they previously worked with LifeWise in March.

“I had a great experience, so I wanted to come back,” Atu said. 

“Even though we’re working with the same organization we worked with in March, it really shows you that they have different needs at different times,” Seeney said.

Support LifeWiseSTL at their website.

Go here for more information on the Alternative Break Trips or how you could become a trip leader.

Go here for more information about the Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement.