Students take break to aid Hurricane Katrina recovery - East Valley Tribune: News

Students take break to aid Hurricane Katrina recovery

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Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2007 5:49 am | Updated: 7:36 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Parents might cringe at the thought of their child ending up on an MTV program, especially during spring break. But a 16-member group of Valley kids that departed Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Saturday morning for spring break could be featured on an upcoming MTV episode for a positive reason.

Phoenix-based Valley of the Sun United Way teamed up with MTV for this year’s thinkMTV “Alternative Spring Break Gulf Coast.”

The group, made up primarily of college students, is part of a nationwide program involving 600 volunteers who will travel to Lake Charles, La., this month to help rebuild communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The Arizona volunteers will be in Louisiana through Saturday, involved in projects ranging from replacing damaged roofs to restoring a nature trail.

“They have made a conscious decision to do this,” United Way spokeswoman Mary Lou Valenzuela said. “It speaks to their desire to give up traditional spring break.”

Arizona State University senior Amber Bridges said she won’t miss not taking an extravagant trip to Mexico or Las Vegas.

“It’s not a waste — I’ve done all that,” Bridges said. “This is a perfect opportunity to give back.”

MTV is filming in Louisiana throughout the month, but no broadcast date has been set.

Volunteers also will be posting their pictures and stories on an online “blog” at

http://blog.unitedway.org/asb/.

Alex Delgadillo of Tempe has made similar trips during the past three years and said he hopes the trip will help change any negative images of college students.

“We aren’t all party-crazy,” Delgadillo said. “We can help this community and learn about issues and see things first hand. We are going to get to see what a difference we made and be proud of that.”

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