Community Service

Past Destinations 

Spring 2009

Disaster Relief -- Galveston, Texas

HAB Participants in Galveston, TX

We traveled to Galveston and worked with Community Collaborations to aid in the relief efforts to help those devastated by Hurricane Ike which was the third costliest in U.S. history.  The students helped by cleaning or gutting out mud and mold infested houses.  They also cleaned out a warehouse so that it could be used as a food pantry and picked up a beach that had been littered with debris left over from the hurricane.

Spring 2010

Disaster Relief & Poverty -- Atlanta, Georgia

 HAB Participants in Atlanta, GAWhile our focus for this trip was initially to provide relief for those affected by the Great Atlanta Flood of 2009, we found ourselves doing a wide variety of projects that better helped people in need.  One day we helped sort and package books that would be sent to Africa and another we played with children at a low income child care facility.  We also picked up trash that littered the sidewalks and empty lots.  We did do what we initially came there to do as we ripped out the mold infested drywall and sprayed mold treatment in the house of a family who had become sick from the mold.

 Animal Issues -- Grassy Key, Florida

HAB Participants in Grass Key, FLWe worked with the Dolphin Research Center which helps to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals while educating the public about the lives of these mammals.  The students helped them with a lot of the projects that are needed to for the facility to run on a day to day basis.  This included picking up trash from out of the water and around the facility, taking seaweed from the lagoon for the facility to use, and other general needs the center had. 

Animal Issues and Environment -- San Francisco, California 

HAB Participants in San Franciso, CAThe focus of this trip was to work with the Rescued Orphan Mammal Project to help injured and orphaned mammals return to the wild.  Some of the projects we completed include building a cage for a bird sanctuary that will be used to house injured birds while they rehabilitate, and we cleaned up the yard where many rescued mammals were being housed as they rehabilitated so that they would have a better environment to live in.  We also helped to clean up a park by weeding and making sure there was nothing poisonous that could hurt animals.

More information coming soon!

Spring 2011 

Disaster Relief -- New Orleans, Louisiana

Animal Welfare -- Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Spring 2012

Elderly Issues -- Kissimmee, Florida

Environmental Issues -- Niceville, Florida

Hunger & Homelessness -- Washington D.C.

Youth & Education -- Newark, New Jersey

Spring 2013

Disaster Relief -- Joplin, Missouri

During this trip, student were able to help rebuild the home of a couple who lost everything in the 2011 tornado that tore through the town of Joplin. The homeowner's wife had moved away from the area because the memories of the storm left her feeling devastated, so her husband remained in the area to help rebuild the home so that his wife would have something beautiful to come back to and to call home. They also were able to help a homeowner, who hadn't received any assistance since the tornado, clear their yard of debris and make their home a better place. Students also had the opportunity to work at the Salvation Army, rearranging their food pantry so that the workers could more easily distribute food items to the people of Joplin, many of whom were directly affected by the tornado.

Youth & Education -- Newark, New Jersey

This trip was focused on helping the Boys and Girls Club of Newark, New Jersey - servicing both the club itself and the kids by working in their aft r-school programs for a week. ASB-ers from across the country were also at the club to help with the children as well as Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. This allowed students to make friends small and large from local kids to Oregon volunteers! The children, age 6 - 13 years old, were all from impoverished neighborhoods occupied by various gangs in the area, at spent almost every day at the club after their school. Each day, before the children arrived, they had the opportunity to help in other ways which included cleaning the club, repainting the facility, helping open a Sandy supply center, and they even got to experience nearby New York City! It was hard to leave the BGC children and their new friends after such a valuable week with them!

Spring 2014

Huskie Alternative Breaks 2014 Group Photo

Affordable Housing, Environmental Issues, Family Wellness -- Pensacola, Florida

Sixty-seven NIU students and alumni donated almost 1,000 hours of their 2014 spring break time to non-profit organizations in Pensacola, Florida. These volunteers enriched the lives of residents in the community, built lifelong friendships and proved that NIU students and alumni truly strive to be contributing members of the global community. HAB students and NIU alumni and friends from the NIU Sociology Department participated in this trip. NIU volunteers worked primarily with the Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, which provides affordable housing to families in dire need of a safe living space. They spent close to 800 hours throughout the week building two houses for families in need. Participants also volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, a non-profit organization that provides families with children in the hospital a low-cost place to stay, eat and recharge while their loved ones are receiving the critical care that they need. To assist in that mission, NIU volunteers cooked four meals for the families and helped reorganize the food pantry to prevent foods from expiring before being used. Participants also volunteered at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and spent a day bagging oysters that will be used to create reefs along the Florida coast to deter shoreline erosion and promote biodiversity and sustainability in the area.