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Alternative Spring Break Group Works With Cancer Patients at Hope Lodge

Nine Doane College students are spending their spring break in Philadelphia, working for the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge.

Alternative Spring Break is a student organization that travels to a variety of out-of-state locations to complete service-learning opportunities with non-profit organizations.

This year, ASB chose Hope Lodge, a residence center for cancer patients.

"It's a little different this year," said Karla Cooper, Doane Chaplain and an ASB sponsor. "What we'll be doing is less physical; we're going to be doing a lot of emotional and hope support."

 ASB's co-sponsor Linda Kalbach agreed that this year's trip is distinctive.

 "We are working directly with the people who are receiving help," said Kalbach, assistant professor of education. "Most of our other projects have been about fixing situations. We can't fix their [the cancer patients] situation. We can only try to help them through it."

 First-year student Quint Geis said he thought ASB was a good way to spend spring break.

 "I didn't want to spend spring break just traveling to some place," Geis said. "We're doing a good thing.  We're trying to help as much as we can. It's a great service-learning experience."

Previous trips for ASB have included traveling to Galveston, Texas, and New Orleans to help with hurricane damage, along with working with the Young Women's Christian Association in Oklahoma City, Okla., one year.

Kalbach said one of the aspects of ASB she enjoys the most is seeing students grow over time.

 "I like to compare ASB to a garden," Kalbach said. "ASB is the seed, then each student goes through transformation, whether it's understanding or personal growth. One student who participated in ASB changed her career. She got her Masters in Social Work, which she switched to from Art. It was a profound change. It's those people who come back to the garden."

Students participating in the 2010 trip are:

Anh Nguyen, sophomore, Crete

Nick Kissel, first-year student, Omaha

Jessica Brown, first-year, Spirit Lake, Iowa

Quint Geis, first-year student, Henderson

Caitlin Moore, first-year student, Fairmont

Lyndsey Hrabik, first-year student, Murdock

Ashton Kotas, first-year student, Dorchester

Hannah Pittman, first-year student, Pickrell

Amy Petersen, first-year student, Lincoln