Ferguson, MO — College students from all over the country are using their Spring Breaks to help rebuild the community and promote civic engagement in Ferguson. Students are coming from cities as far away as New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
Most of them are a part of an organized initiative called Ferguson Alternative Spring Break (FASB), which is a five-week program that invites students from across the nation to help rebuild the city by addressing unmet social needs. The program, created by civic leaders and activists from Ferguson, started on March 7th and will end on April 11th.
According to USA Today, the program requires the student volunteers to spend at least 33 hours each week helping out with various community service projects. Such projects include: voter education and registration, community beautification projects, food collection/distribution, and homework help and tutoring with local schools. They are also assisting local businesses whose storefronts were damaged in the riots.
The founders of the program say the support has been overwhelming, and that as soon as their web site went live, they immediately received nearly 800 inquiries from interested volunteers.
Patricia Byrnes, co-founder of the project, says that the goal of the program was not to recruit protesters, but rather to get community volunteers to actually help rebuild the community.
She comments, “I thought the program would be a great way to show the community that there are people, especially students, from all over the country who want to help empower them because the people in Ferguson do matter.”
The city of Ferguson, although just a small town in Missouri, has been making national headlines for the past few months because of a highly publicized incident whereas a white police officer killed an unarmed Black teenager (Michael Brown). Since then, the Justice Department has found tons of evidence proving the local police department guilty of police brutality, racial profiling, and more.
For more details about the Ferguson Alternative Spring Break (FASB) program, visit http://fergusonalternativespringbreak.tumblr.com