Fall Break offered little respite for Abbey Doherty. The junior spent the University of Mary Washington’s designated mid-semester break working to better the lives of an Eastern Shore community.
Doherty was one of eight UMW students who spent four days in the town of Exmore, Va., as part of an Alternative Fall Break trip organized through the office of Community Outreach and Resources (COAR) and Habitat for Humanity.
“I had such a phenomenal experience working with our group from UMW and everyone on the Habitat site,” said Doherty, who participated in an alternative break trip for the first time. “Not only were we a bonded group but we also were all there for the sole purpose of making a small yet important difference in someone else’s life. To us, an opportunity to give back was more than enough of a reason to ‘give up’ break.”
The students spent seven hours a day nailing molding, painting doors, installing plumbing, cutting shelving and getting to know members of the community. The trip is one of two alternative break trips COAR takes each year, with the other during spring break.
“They are the most rewarding times of my life and I hope to continue to volunteer,” said junior Regina Weiss, who coordinated and led this fall’s trip. She has taken four alternative break trips and volunteers throughout the year through COAR programs.
For Chrissy Bowdren ’11, assistant director of alumni relations, the trip had a special meaning. “I thought I would never have the opportunity to experience Alternative Fall Break again,” she said. “As a student I absolutely loved it and participated in two Alternative Spring Break programs. [The students] were full of enthusiasm and focused all their energy on the cause and helping the community. I was inspired by them and glad I could experience this with them.”