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VOLUNTEER » Alternative Spring Break


United Way Alternative Spring Break

During spring break, hundreds of student volunteers from across the United States participate in United Way Alternative Spring Break. This unique volunteer opportunity presents college students with the means to help in their community and make a difference in the lives of local families. In 2016, student volunteers in northern New Jersey will help improve education opportunities for children in Newark and help with Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts at the Jersey Shore.

Spring break views
Click here to view a student’s photo essay about her United Way Alternative Spring Break volunteer work at the Jersey shore in March 2014.

"We did not give up our Spring Break, we took advantage of it,"

Tom Wille

United Way Alternative Spring Break in New Jersey, 2016
Each year, United Way of Northern New Jersey partners with United Way of Essex and West Hudson and Break a Difference to bring college students from across the country to New Jersey for United Way Alternative Spring Break.

Here, helping ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and families living in poverty – including those affected by Hurricane Sandy – is the focus of Alternative Spring Break. ALICE represents men and women of all ages and races who get up each day to go to work, but who aren’t sure if they’ll be able to put dinner on the table each night. Despite being employed, they cannot afford the basics of child care, health care, housing, transportation, and food.  And they are certainly not equipped to weather a crisis like Hurricane Sandy. 

"I went there thinking I was going to teach the kids, but they were the ones that ended up teaching me."

Amanda Nichols

Home base for Alternative Spring Break will be at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark. Participants will act as tutors and mentors for local children who need it the most, and provide some building maintenance support to this outdated facility. Each day, groups of students will be deployed to work on projects at the Jersey Shore. Appropriate projects are being identified now in preparation for this month-long service project.

United Way Alternative Spring Break in New Jersey aims to:

  • Help ALICE households and struggling communities
  • Provide positive role models to children from ALICE households and struggling communities rebuild after Sandy
  • Help communities support ALICE and poverty households in their efforts to attain and maintain self-sufficiency
  • Establish long-term mentoring programs designed to help children from ALICE and poverty households learn and thrive

Why volunteer during spring break?

  • To learn more about real life experiences of those who live in our communities
  • To meet other like-minded students from New Jersey and around the country
  • To build leadership, communication, and networking skills
  • To give back to the community
  • To gain valuable experiences which can be added to a resume


Calling all college students!  Join us for United Way Alternative Spring Break 2016!

Step 1 - Choose your week of service
February 26 – March 4
March 5 – 11
March 12 – 18
March 19 – 25

Click here to register

Step 2 – A deposit of $50 is required if paid prior to January 1st, after January 1st the deposit amount is $100

Step 3 – Raise an additional $345 in tax deductible donations to cover transportation in Newark and to the shore, lodging at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, and food for the week

Step 4 – Get yourself to Newark by plane, train or bus!

To learn how you can get involved with United Way of Northern New Jersey Alternative Spring Break, click here to email us, or call 973.993.1160, x201. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation.

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