2007 Alternative Spring Break

January 17, 2007
Reported by Rhonda Kitchens

For the past few decades MTV has shaped the way many teens view what's hot and what's not. So when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tore through the gulf coast, who better to call teens to action.

Randy Punley of United Way, America says, "we had been in conversations with MTV for about 4 years about possibly doing a partnership and when we took this idea to them about calling young people to service during spring break they loved the idea."

Punley says, thousands immediately signed on to forgo their normal beach towels and bikinis in lieu of a hammer and nails.

"So quickly we realized this was a great way for young people to make a meaningful difference."

2006 volunteer, Brian Pham says, "I just thought it was a great opportunity because I'm more of a hands-on volunteer versus donating money and it was the only opportunity that I saw, visually, it got to me through MTV."

"I definitely think it adds to the excitement factor," adds 2006 volunteer Adam Cox.

And while it wasn't the typical spring break celebration volunteers say they wouldn't trade their experience for the most luxurious of accomodations.

Cox explains, "we had one woman on a project who would get up at almost five in the morning to work until around noon to prepare us a homemade, bar b que ribs, cornbread, sweet potato pie, the most amazing southern meal I've ever had. And to know that she was living out of a trailer with limited kitchens space and took her own time and money to make a meal for us, it was one of the most amazing experiences."

An experience that not only shapes but changes lives forever.

The 2007 Alternative Spring Break is scheduled for March 10-24.

300 teens from across America will be in Southwest Louisiana to help repair homes, landscapes, and Camp Wi ta Wentin.