RIT Students Choose Service Over Sunshine for Spring Break

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Spring break—the siren call of warm weather, sandy beaches and partying by the pool beckons. This year, seven Rochester Institute of Technology students have opted against heeding that call.

They’re spending their spring break week (Feb. 28-March 4) learning about and performing community service with area organizations.

Organized and co-sponsored by RochesterCares, the alternative spring break program immerses students in a purposeful service experience designed to connect students and community members. Through an intensive week of hands-on projects in diverse neighborhoods throughout the city, students will come to know more about themselves and the community and learn how both can benefit through volunteer work.

They will also engage neighborhood and community leaders in lively discussions during lunch each day. In the evenings, students will dine with professionals from the community and attend educational workshops that will continue the daily lessons. The students will be housed at 8 Austin Street in Rochester where the lunch, dinner and workshop events will be held.

Schedule of activities:
Monday, April 28
12:30 p.m.:
Lunch and orientation with speakers Derek Darling and Joel Kunkler from RochesterCares
2-5 p.m.: Volunteer work at Urban Center doing organizing and cleaning, 8 Austin St.
5:30-6:30 p.m.: Dinner with speaker Mary Wells from South East Area Coalition on the topic strong neighborhoods, vibrant communities
7-8 p.m.: Workshop on program development and sustainability with Liz Wilder from the Rochester Grant Maker Forum

Tuesday, March 1
9 a.m.-noon:
Volunteer work at Cameron Community Ministries clothing house project
12:30 p.m.: Lunch with speakers Jennifer Sciarraba from Junior Acheivement and Jess Shackleton from AmeriaCorps VISTA and Nazareth College on the topic of mentoring
2-5 p.m.: Volunteer work at Micrecycle rehabilitating personal computers, 175 Humbolt St.
5:30-6:30 p.m.: Dinner with speaker Doug Rice from ArtWalk on art and community building
7-8 p.m.: Workshop on PAC-TAC with Steve Edgett

Wednesday, March 2
9 a.m.-noon:
Volunteer work at Rochester Presbyterian Home, 256 Thurston Rd.
12:30 p.m.: Lunch with speakers Brian Capitimuno from Foodlink and Laurie Jenkins from Southeast Ecumenical Ministry on the topic of hunger, nutrition and children
2-5 p.m.: Neighborhood bus tour with neighborhood leaders, guided by the Landmark Historical Society, leaving from 123 S. Fitzhugh St.
5:30-6:30 p.m.: Dinner with speaker Peter Bruu from Simple Technology on civic engagement
7-8 p.m.: Workshop on community service with Molly McGowan and Phyllis Walker from RIT

Thursday, March 3
9 a.m.-noon:
Volunteer work at Meals on Wheels, 50 Prince St.
12:30 p.m.: Lunch with speaker David Monroe from Rochester AmeriCorps on volunteering
2-5 p.m.: Volunteer work at PAC-TAC, 200 East Ave.
5:30-6:30 p.m.: Dinner with speaker Jose Cruz, Monroe County legislator, on the topic of today’s youth, tomorrow’s future
7-8 p.m.: Art and the City Walk social starting from Spot Coffee on East Avenue

Friday, March 4
9 a.m.-noon:
Volunteer work at Foodlink, 936 Exchange St.
12:30 p.m.: Closing ceremony and lunch

For more information about the program, contact Phyllis Walker, coordinator for student volunteer programs at RIT, at 475-6056 or RochesterCares’ Joel E. Kunkler at 259-1501 or Saul Maneiro at 615-1899.

RochesterCares Inc. is an innovative approach to volunteerism and civic engagement in Rochester. An emerging affiliate of the national Hands on Network, the organization strives to build bridges between volunteers and agencies, and ultimately between people and their community. RochesterCares Inc. accomplishes this by developing projects with its community service agencies, publishing these projects in a monthly calendar and recruiting and leading volunteers.