Faculty & Staff


10th Anniversary


Alternative spring break is a renewing experience for Marshall Scholarship recipient

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Madison Wilcox, a senior at UNC Pembroke, received the 2015 Marshall Scholarship.

Special Guest Post by Madison Wilcox

Some think that week long service trips don’t accomplish much and that it’s just putting a Band-Aid on a much bigger problem. I knew this wasn’t true because I have seen just a small act of kindness go a much longer way. Through small acts of service, Alternative Break Programs like the ones at UNC Pembroke make an impact by restoring hope. I knew I wanted to be a part of this mission by participating on one of these trips. Because of the Marshall Alternative Break Scholarship, I was able to serve in New Orleans, Louisiana and Montgomery, Alabama during my spring break. After this trip, I came to realize that restoring hope is necessary for recovery and renewal.

The city of New Orleans flag features the fleur de lis.

Everywhere you look in New Orleans, you’re sure to see the Fleur di Lis. This is also easily recognized as the symbol for the New Orleans Saints. This symbol was originally used to signify French royalty and luxury. However, after Hurricane Katrina, the Fleur di Lis adapted a new significance: renewal and restoration. Experiencing New Orleans through various museums and speaking with the locals, some who were receiving service and some providing service, I began to realize just how much the meaning of this symbol was ingrained into the lives of the people in this ever-onward city.

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The UNCP alternative break team at a therapeutic riding center outside of New Orleans.

I was able to participate in interviewing and selecting our team for the trip. With our dream team, we spent 4 service days in New Orleans and 1 service day in Alabama. While in New Orleans, our group worked for two days with Green Light New Orleans, a nonprofit that works to promote sustainability. We installed free LED lightbulbs that last 10-20 years, which will save money and use energy efficiently. While part of our group changed light bulbs, the rest of us advertised throughout entire neighborhoods to promote this free service. During our second day at Green Light, we planted vegetable gardens for people who had expressed interest in learning how to live more sustainably by growing their own food. Our third scheduled site was a Therapeutic Horse Riding Center. This facility provides therapy to people of all ages who have varying disabilities. The center has to operate off of donations so our group was able to get several items organized for various fundraisers as well as clean up the horse arena. On our way out of NOLA, we decided to visit Villalobos Rescue Center where the show “Pitbulls and Parolees” is filmed. During our visit we volunteered to walk the dogs – definitely a neat, spontaneous experience! When we finally made it to Alabama, we spent an afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club. I met some awesome kids who shared a lot about their personal lives with me. It was quite eye opening as well as exhausting.

Projects and facilities like Green Light New Orleans, the Therapeutic Riding Center, Villalobos Rescue Center and the Boys and Girls Club all provide hope and restoration in some form. Hope for the future of our environment and restoration for the damage done; Hope for people who have a disability and restoration to their bodies so that they are able to walk; Hope for abused dogs and restoration of a meaningful life for parolees. Each of these facilities need volunteers to function. They need people to step up who are willing to do small, unglamorous tasks to take their mission to fruition. I will never be able to describe the way I experienced hope, renewal and restoration through the people of both of these cities, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of their work.

Madison Wilcox, a senior at UNC Pembroke, is from Fairmont, NC. She participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip in March with a group of 8 other students and 2 staff members. Madison’s trip was supported by a $250 Marshall Alternative Service Experience Scholarship, the first such award gifted by former NC Campus Compact student award winner Aaron Marshall. The Marshall Scholarship is a competitive award for students who are identified by their campus as a Community Impact Award winner. Please contact Assistant Director Chad Fogleman with questions about the Community Impact Award or the Marshall ASE Scholarship.

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