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Newton Student Gives Up Winter Break to Help Others

Sasha MacDonald travled to New Orleans to help those impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

Many students look to winter break as a time to get relax and play, but one Newton student joined a community service trip this month.

Sasha MacDonald joined teens from around the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico who opted to spend their winter vacation by lending a hand toward rebuilding and community development projects with Young Judea.

From Dec. 22-27 she joined a group that went to New Orleans to help in the Ninth Ward, an area hard hit by Hurricane Katrina. The group helped renovate homes and work with local youth and residents and gained a stronger understanding of rebuilding efforts and issues affecting the Gulf Coast region since Hurricane Katrina. 

Another group traveled to Los Angeles volunteering at shelters and food banks. Previous locations include South Florida, the Navajo Nation and last year a special Alternative Winter Break was run in Brooklyn and Staten Island after Hurricane Sandy

“By living and working in communities where the effects of their efforts can be felt, these teens will learn firsthand about the issues affecting those who live in recovering and struggling areas," said Andrew Fretwell, Young Judaea’s Alternative Winter Break program manager. "Alternative Winter Break ensures that participants develop a sense of building community, get the chance to further explore their Jewish identity and ultimately go home more committed and better equipped to offer service where it is most needed.”

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