"I was ready for a new experience that had me step outside my comfort zone."
Emily Schrecker's (bottom, right) first ASB trip was to Cayo Costa, Fla.
What attracted you to participate in an Alternative Break or other community service experience?
I was originally attracted to the Alternative Break program because I was looking for a way to get involved. I didn't belong to any other organizations on campus and knew it would be a great way to meet new people and have a fun new experience.
Once I was involved with the ABP, I got more involved with the broader community service-learning office and did more service with them.
Did you know what to expect or was this a totally new experience?
It was a brand new experience for me. I had never heard of anyone's previous ASB experiences. I had never even been camping before and I signed up for an environmental camping trip! I guess I was ready for a new experience that had me step outside my comfort zone.
How did your experience influence your academic career at JMU?
It kept me organized and therefore kept me on a tight schedule to get work done. When I was in my later coursework I was able to take more classes that fit with my interest. I was able to take Dr. Warner's leadership class and tie new information into my alternative break role.
I also did my master's thesis on community service-learning in elementary school classrooms.
I had so much success in my research and implementation of community service with kids that I know that when I am a teacher, community service-learning will be a part of my curriculum.
Emily Schrecker, shown here (back row, far left) with her AmeriCorps team, is working in a preschool and afterschool program.
Did your experiences at JMU influence your career decisions?
Getting involved with service at JMU made my transition into doing a year of service through AmeriCorps very smooth. The values and ideals upheld by JMU and CS-L's mission transfer directly to my life now. I serve in a preschool and afterschool program and promote lifelong learning with the students.
Though I live in a different state now, I feel connected to JMU everyday because I remember how my experiences there prepared me for what I do on a daily basis.