Nov. 4, 2020
Contact: Liz McCune, 573-882-6212, McCuneE@missouri.edu
More than 130 University of Missouri students will be spending their weekend giving back to the community through Mizzou Alternative Breaks. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student volunteers will be keeping the work close to home while donning face coverings, working mostly outside and maintaining social distance.
Mizzou will partner with 17 mid-Missouri organizations during the CoMo Weekend of Service. Projects include removing invasive species and litter clean-ups, painting, working on a home and more. The service projects are part of Mizzou Alternative Breaks, a student program founded in 1991 that aims to serve communities and counties across the state and beyond.
“Instead of letting COVID-19 hamper our ability to serve, we are ‘bringing it home’ to serve with our community partners in Columbia,” said Liam Gray, a Mizzou Alternative Breaks executive board member. “By serving locally, not only is our program able to continue serving, but we are able to find safe ways to serve during these times.”
Typically, Mizzou Alternative Breaks facilitates service trip options throughout Missouri, the U.S. and abroad during weekends and academic breaks. However, amid the pandemic, the organization has had to pivot its plans and stay local.
Cydney Smith, a Mizzou Alternative Breaks site leader, will lead a group to serve at the Salvation Army this weekend.
“Columbia has helped me grow personally and professionally, and I look forward to giving back to a community that has given me so much in return,” Smith said.
Volunteer locations include:
- City of Columbia
- Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri
- Habitat for Humanity
- Salvation Army
Mizzou Alternative Breaks trips allow the volunteers to connect with other students and community members to build lasting relationships, Smith said.
“By giving back to Columbia, we can unite the members of our community,” Smith said. “I hope our service experience will allow my participants to apply what they learned to their daily lives and help them grow to be an active citizen.”
With a service focus in mind, the groups will serve for a minimum of seven hours over the weekend. The weekend will kick off with a virtual event on Thursday, November 5.
The student-led program, which partners with MU Extension, has completed service trips in all of Missouri’s 114 counties.
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