Alejandra Prado

Alejandra Prado
Masters of Education, Higher Education, Administration, and Leadership

What is your most memorable service experience?
My most memorable service experience would have to be my Sophomore year in college when I joined the 2013 Fresno State Alternative Spring Break project.

Where did you serve?
That year we served at the Fresno Rescue Mission: Rescue the Children.

What did you learn?
After commuting my first year and not enjoying my college experience, I decided it was time for me to change something in my life. I used to be really involved in high school, volunteering with friends after-school and weekends and suddenly freshman year of college, it was not the same. I moved to Fresno and decided it was time for me to get involved! On my way to get an application for the USU Production team I accidentally grabbed the wrong one…It said Alternative Spring Break 2013. I was so embarrassed to go back in the office and change it, so I looked it over and decided to apply.  “An opportunity to serve Fresno and make new friends too? Yeah! Why not?” After the interview process I received a call letting me know I was selected to be part of ASB, I was in shock-I was going to be part of something at Fresno State.

Meeting the team was really fun, there were some returners and new folks like myself who were anxious to see what the week would look like, we originally were going to install a playground but unfortunately the materials did not arrive on time for our break, but the team leaders had a plan B. We did several service activities such as paint rooms, organize the community store and even interact with some of the children at the site, I was excited to begin working.

We encountered some challenges through the week that forced us to repaint the entire room, but those memories were all part of the experience that brought our team closer together. I made the greatest of friends who I would have not been able to meet if it wasn’t for ASB.  Students with different majors, some I had no idea existed, but through networking, I was able to meet the greatest of people who I can call friends and ASB family. #ASBethechange

What impact did you make?
With my team, we were able to adopt several rooms which were going to be occupied in the future, we were able to remodel and add decorations to make someone’s stay more pleasurable. In addition we organized the community store that was inside the rescue mission, we painted the store and re-organized the shelves to make it more accessible and easier to identify items.  The clothing room was also organized by some members and we were able to donate several items to the rescue mission that were needed such as toiletries, equipment, scooters, games, and more.  I remember the site director that received the items started to cry as we presented her with the gifts; she was very grateful that College Students were kind enough to give up their spring break and volunteer.

We made an impact on the children at the site as well, they looked up to some of the volunteers and knew they wanted to go to college one day and volunteer as well. Some of the moms came out to thank us for coming out and helping them make their living environment more beautiful; they were glad to see us all genuinely helping.

It is not about how many tasks you complete, or the mistakes you make; it’s about the experience, the memories, and your impact. Even if your actions are small, they will impact someone else and so on, and it will be because you did something that impacted them. Pay it forward and greatness will come one day.

How did this service impact you?
Because of my experience in ASB 2013, I decided to apply for team leader the following year and since then I have been part of Alternative Spring Break every year.  I served as a team leader in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, and PR & Marketing coordinator for the 2016-2017 year. ASB opened my doors into this great college experience I am still continuing. After my first year in ASB, I applied for USU Production’s Pit Crew which I did for a year and later transitioned into an Event Coordinator at the Student Involvement Center and met amazing peers who influenced me and encouraged me to apply to the Richter Center Student Leaders- Ambassador Team, where I am today.

Things happen for a reason, I was destined to pick up the ASB application by mistake. Who would have known 4 years later I would still be a part of it and it would lead me to greatness? My experience with Alternative Spring Break gave me a sense of belonging, I had a home at Fresno State and a Family with Alternative Spring Break.

I truly believe the program helped shape my career in higher education and passion for service. If you ever have the opportunity to do a program like Alternative Spring Break or Service-Learning, I would highly recommend it, it was the highlight of my college experience.