Two compassionate Northwood students decided to forgo a trip home or faraway beach to dedicate their time to helping others. They joined students from across the country in Franklin, Tennessee to participate the United Way Worldwide Alternative Spring Break.

For more than seven years, United Way has provided students with an opportunity to give back during their spring break. Since its inception, over 2,500 students have traded in their swim suits for tool belts and participated in Alternative Spring Break in dozens of communities across the country.

Brianna Reising and Adrea Baughman spent a week at the Barefoot Republic Camp in Franklin, Tennessee. Each morning, they worked on improving landscaping throughout the campgrounds. They also worked to improve the cabins by deep cleaning the interior and staining the exterior. Their afternoons were dedicated to hosting a day camp for underprivileged local youth, encouraging teamwork and working together.

“I wasn’t afraid to balance myself on high beams or get dirty,” shared Brianna Reising, a junior at Northwood University. “I knew it was going to make a difference for this summer’s campers and long into the future.”

Both Brianna and Adrea are studying Advertising & Marketing and are active members of the Northwood University chapter of Student United Way.

“This campus-based program offers students a meaningful way to engage in United Way’s mission,” shared Ann Fillmore, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County. “Our partnership with Northwood University serves to guide and support student leaders to volunteer and create change.”

The cost to send both Brianna and Adrea was nearly $1,600. A generous benefactor provided the funds needed for these students to follow their hearts.

“Thanks to the vision and generosity of Layle “Kip” Smith, CEO of Noranda Aluminum Holdings Corporation in Franklin, TN (and a Midland, MI native) this important trip was possible,” shared Dr. Keith Pretty, President and CEO of Northwood University. “The mission of Alternative Spring Break and CEOs like Kip Smith reflects and supports both our core values and our value proposition here at Northwood University.”

“I’d like to thank everyone for helping to make this journey possible,” shared Brianna. “I’m grateful for the awesome support I’ve received from Kip Smith, Northwood University, Barefoot Republic and United Way.”

To hear more about their adventure, read Brianna’s Blog at the far right.