GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Some Boston College student are spending their Spring Break in Greenville.

They’re working on various service projects as part of their own alternative spring break program.

The students are Appalachia Volunteers Program members. They’re commonly known around campus as “Appa”. The program was founded in 1979 and it’s one of the oldest spring break programs.

Their first stop is west Greenville where they spent Monday with Third Street Academy students.

Troup leaders Margaret Iaccarino and Brenden Koch say this trip is all about immersing themselves in a different culture while making ties to their own.

“I’m so impressed by this whole center and Nathan and all the people that we have already talked to,” said Iaccarino.

“When the boys read their mission statement or recited it, it kinda resonated with what I experienced,” added Koch.

This isn’t Iaccarino’s first alternative spring break trip, but she said it is just as exciting and she can’t wait to interact with the locals.

“I just want to be really present in this community and have conversations with the community members. Hear their stories share mine,” said Iaccarino.

Third street associate executive director Nathan White said he is always impressed to see students give up time at the beach to serve others.

“I think it is an opportunity to help influence future leaders so that they have a will view of love and of self-sacrifice,” said White.

He said it won’t only help them, but also the kids who follow in their footsteps.

“If they can sort of see the present struggles and realities of where kids are now by the time these kids are in college, the college students will be in places of influence,” said White.

“We cannot wait to spend our week with the community of Greenville! Appa is centered on whole-hearted intentional engagement through conversations, reflection, and simply one another’s presence. We look forward to sharing ourselves with you, as you share yourselves with us,” said trip leader Margaret Iaccarino.

The program, which has been traditionally rooted in the Appalachian region, has recently expanded into urban areas of the United States, including Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. Over the course of the year, the 500 student participants engage in conversations around service, faith, justice, and community, all of which culminates in a week of service and solidarity during Boston College’s spring break.

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