Alternative Service Breaks


Alternative Service Breaks (ASB)

The Y’s Alternative Service Break (ASB) Program exposes Virginia Tech students to critical social issues through intensive immersion experiences. Students live and work alongside residents of their host communities on projects addressing critical, unmet needs. ASBs are a chance to travel and explore cultural, political, and economic differences in a safe and caring learning environment that is drug and alcohol free.

Trips are offered during academic holidays (fall, winter, spring breaks) and on weekends throughout each semester. Both domestic and international service trips have been offered. Recent past trips include:

  • International Community Development in the Dominican Republic
  • Hurricane relief in Louisiana and Mississippi
  • Environmental Restoration in Florida
  • Homelessness Issues in Washington, DC
  • Sustainable Gardening in Schellesburg, PA
  • Appalachian Community Involvement in Ivanhoe, VA

All ASB trips are student-led with a focus on seven core components:

  • Strong Direct Service
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Orientation
  • Education
  • Training
  • Reflection
  • Reorientation

The hands-on service experience you will gain through ASB will expose you the realities and challenges of community development and promote fuller comprehension of your place in your community and the world. Join us today for the experience of a lifetime!


The YMCA at Virginia Tech’s Alternative Service Break program participated in a Spring Break trip to Mandeville, Jamaica, from March 3-9, 2017.  The trip was organized and implemented by the Intercollegiate YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and other universities were invited to attend.  Throughout the week, the group participated in multiple projects and had the opportunity to work with several amazing organizations throughout the Mandeville region.

The morning half of our days were spent doing various projects at Moorlands Camp, our home for that week.  In the past, we painted and sealed the roofs on the dormitories, built corn-hole sets and a Frisbee golf course, painted a fence, and replaced the playground area’s hard dirt with fresh, soft sand.  Other mornings were spent at the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) camp in town as well as the Hanbury Home, an orphanage run by the Salvation Army.  Overall, the trip involved several days of getting to know the kids, talking, playing, and showing them lots of love.  The older children shared their stories and plans for the future after leaving the orphanage.

Fall 2013

The YMCA Alternative Service Breaks program traveled to Pulaski/Radford, VA, for the first half of Thanksgiving Break to work with Beans & Rice, a local non-profit organization dedicated to serving the community.  Some of the activities we helped with included:

  • Building decks, insulating interior walls, and preparing the foundation for the placement of water pipes as part of the tornado relief efforts.
  • Packing up food and distributing it to community members as part of an affordable housing program.
  • Volunteering at a local elementary after-school program playing games, learning about etiquette, and helping with homework.
  • Going on an Economic Tour to learn about the surrounding areas and the history of Radford/Pulaski and to gain a better understanding of what the needs of the community are.