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APSU students spend week volunteering on alternative break trip to Ecuador

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. —  A group of Austin Peay State University students recently returned from Quito, Ecuador, where they spent a week volunteering with the University’s Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement on its second international alternative break trip. Collectively, these students completed over 200 hours of community service.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. —  A group of Austin Peay State University students recently returned from Quito, Ecuador, where they spent a week volunteering with the University’s Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement on its second international alternative break trip. Collectively, these students completed over 200 hours of community service.

From June 18-25, six students and one staff member traveled to the Central American country to work with Volunteer Connection Ecuador and UBECI, a non-profit organization that works to ensure a better future for Ecuadorian youth.

Students traveled daily to street markets around the city to work the children of vendors who do not have the opportunity to attend school. They helped teach the children basic lessons, such as sharing and hygiene, as well as facilitating time for play. In addition to their service, the students also explored historical sites, visited the equator and learned to navigate a city as large as Quito.

“After being back in the states for a little over 24 hours, I realized I came back as a totally different person,” Gisela Herrera, an APSU junior and art education major from Dickson, Tenn., said. “I have learned not to take anything for granted, because the children of Ecuador have a fraction of what I had when I was their age. I learned to appreciate the little things in life, like hot showers and water pressure.

“I am grateful for the life I live and honored to have worked alongside UBECI. UBECI works daily to provide the children of Ecuador educational services and help them achieve a better future. Thank you, APSU Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement, Volunteer Connection Ecuador, UBECI and especially this amazing group of volunteers, who have now become life-long friends.”

The Alternative Break program is organized by the Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement at APSU. Through a written application, students are selected to participate in a variety of service projects throughout the country that are organized by student leaders, as well as faculty and staff advisors. A total of 10 trips were scheduled throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, during the fall, winter, spring and summer. A total of 12 trips are scheduled for 2016-2017.

For more information on how to get involved, students should visit apsu.edu/volunteer.