CLEMSON — A group of 17 students from Clemson University’s Alternative Break Program will spend fall break in Columbia helping out at The Women’s Shelter Oct. 10-12.

Alternative Break Program is a student organization devoted to using fall and spring breaks for students to take service-learning trips. During past spring breaks, participants have traveled to Gulfport, Miss.; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; and New Orleans to work on various community-service projects. Fall break trips, however, have the theme “Caring for the Carolinas,” as the organization chooses service projects a little closer to home.

The students will help out primarily with yard work and maintenance projects for The Women’s Shelter, a homeless shelter located at 3425 N. Main St. in Columbia. The Women’s Shelter not only gives women a place to live, but also provides residents with the tools and skills they need to become healthy, safe and self-sufficient through a variety of educational and support programs.

The students plan to spend some time getting to know residents at the shelter during a barbecue dinner with the women Sunday evening.

“It will give us the chance to put a face on the people we’re helping,” said Bethany Avera, a junior from Greer majoring in soils and sustainable crop systems and site leader for the trip. “Serving other people — once you get involved with something like that makes you realize that the world is bigger than just yourself.”

Avera said the Alternative Break Program trips also give students a chance to get to know other students outside of their normal classes or social circles.

“Everybody who comes on these trips has a different perspective, but we are all united by the passion for serving other people,” she said.

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