Skip Navigation LinksHome > Parents > Sophomore April Norris Reflects on Alternative Spring Break

Sophomore April Norris Reflects on Alternative Spring Break


April Norris (left) helps to install styrofoam insulation


My experience with choosing Alternative Spring Break was one of the best decisions that I have made here at Bellarmine. In joining Bellarmine in Appalachia, I was able to build friendships that will last a lifetime and make a profound impact on the lives of families that were in need. While many students went with the easy choice of going to the beach for an entire week to get away from school, I challenged myself to step into a new environment and experience that I had never encountered before that would be in a position to change the lives of others. Visiting Appalacia and seeing the difficult conditions in which many families live was the most eye-opening experience that I have had in my entire life. Though these families were living without the day-to-day necessities that many of us would consider “standard,” I found that many of these families were very happy with their lives regardless and appreciated every single thing that they did have.

Our time spent repairing the houses of families in Appalachia was challenging but rewarding. Our days were often spent outside in the unpredictable Kentucky weather completing our tasks that we set out to do for the day. While it was often very cold outside, it did not cross my mind for one second that anything that we were doing was not worth it. Our time spent outside braving the cold paled in comparison to the larger picture: that we were making a lifelong change in the families that lived there. The work that we did for the families of Appalachia was the difference between having a cold house during the winter and having a warm, safe house to be comfortable in year around. One of the most emotional moments that I had in Appalachia was on the final day of our work when the grandmother whose house we extensively repaired broke into tears and told us how grateful she was for everything that we had done that week. Having the opportunity to make that kind of difference in someone else's life was the most incredible feeling that I have ever experienced.  

In my time spent at Appalachia, I never felt like I was giving anything up or making any type of sacrifice because every moment was one-hundred percent worth it. When I went to Appalachia, I went to give to others, not receive. Though we did much work on the houses of Appalachia, by the end of the week I felt that I had received so much more than I had given from my experience. I received a complete change in perspective in which I have become grateful for the many blessings and privileges in my life that many others do not have. I also found new hope in my generation through meeting hundreds of college students who wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, as well. Looking back now that I have completed Alternative Spring Break, I am so happy with the decision that I made. Now that my eyes have been opened to the hardships that many families are facing in Appalachia and around the world, I truly yearn to make a difference in the lives of others in any possible way that I can. I can't wait to go back next year!  

April Norris
Sophomore Psychology Major

Bellarmine University | 2001 Newburg Rd, Louisville KY, 40205 | 502.272.8131 | 800.274.4723

Copyright 2011, All rights reserved