This spring break not every college student was living it up on the beach. Instead of a week of revelry, a group of 40 volunteers traveled to Fairview, Tennessee to participate in the United Way of Williamson County's Alternative Spring Break program.
The Tennessean reports that for roughly seven days, the young adults participated in service projects, leadership training, and relationship-building. While working together on a community garden that feeds the less fortunate, volunteers are able to make a positive impact and learn more about challenges faced by certain parts of the country.
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Debby Rainey, program organizer for United Way of Williamson County, told The Tennessean that she promoted Fairview as an Alternative Spring Break destination on college campuses across the country.
“The response was overwhelming, and this year, we are the only alternative spring break being offered in Tennessee,” she noted. “We have students who have traveled from all over— Kansas, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nebraska, Georgia, Florida—all to spend the week in Fairview and see something new.”
In addition to the volunteer work, Rainey explained that participants pay for their own transportation, plus a $300 participation fee. The fee covers meals, housing, local transportation during their stay, project supplies, and any excursions to nearby attractions.
And it’s not only students who volunteer to work on the garden, which is located on the grounds of Fairview’s Westview United Methodist Church. Sean Hart, a businessman from Kansas City and his three children have made the trip multiple times. “I want them (his children) to learn there is so much beyond their small diameter of life—that they can give back to those around them and be proud of what they do,” he tells The Tennessean.
There are personal benefits too, he adds. “We as a family get closer by this trip, putting aside technology and the social circles teenagers get into, and work together... while laughing and getting our hands dirty with fresh soil!”
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Last year, Fairview’s “Good Samaritan Garden” turned out 1,200 pounds of food for needy families. And this year, it’s even bigger. But Rainey says there’s still plenty of work to do.
Don’t mind getting your hands dirty for a good cause? To volunteer, contact Westview UMC at (615) 799-0250.