Dear PAB Community,

We hope this finds you well and have been able to find rest this break amid a fast changing world.

As you may be aware of, all PAB spring break trips were cancelled just days before the trips were scheduled to depart. While we were devastated by this news, we realize that this was done to protect the health and safety of our communities. We also have a silver lining to share with you all:

Last weekend, the spring break site leaders rallied, regrouped and were able to coordinate an impromptu Philly ASB trip for those who remained on campus. We had a group of 10 students and 4 site leaders. We kicked off the week with a picnic in Clark Park to get to know each other.


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Together we were able to do service projects at Philabundance, Ronald McDonald, and provide volunteer efforts as tutors for Moder Patshala and debate judges for Philadelphia Scholastic High School Debate Finals.

We also got to engage more deeply in Philadelphia stories through a Philly-identity workshop at the beginning of the week, and a social justice themed Philly tour of Old City on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the final two days of activities (Bartram’s Garden and Share Food Program) were cancelled due to general closings of our community partners. So the group came together yesterday evening to participate in closing reflections and bubble tea.

I wanted to share some of the closing reflections that came out of the week with you all, as I think they accurately capture what makes the PAB community so special:

“It was nice to have a group of support to lean on during these stressful and unpredictable times. While most of my friends had to rush back, pack and leave, I felt grateful to have the Philly ASB group. This PAB closing reflection not only brings some closure for the week in general, but also some comfort and closure for the semester – since we don’t know what the rest of the semester is going to look like. I appreciate the space we have to share our feelings, anxieties and fears about what’s going on.”


“My biggest takeaway is definitely going to be – reflection. I hope to continue reflecting throughout the year – not that we’ll have more time to do that!”

“I really enjoyed the social justice Philly tour. I was thinking about the stories even after I got back to my dorm. I hope to get involved with more volunteer opportunities next year, because I really enjoyed the service projects this week. They felt really meaningful.”

“I think my biggest takeaway is going to be – relationships. I really appreciated the opportunity to just chat with people… I felt like I got to know people in a more organic way.”


We wanted to reach out to you specifically to first offer our support to you, whether you return to Philadelphia or remain home. Please feel free to reach out to the PABoard with additional questions, concerns, or just someone to talk to!

Wishing good health, love, and peace to you at this time,

<3 PABoard

(Katy, Sonia, Calais, Aileen, Michele, Amy, & Janette)


*Working Mission Statement, Drafted September 2016*

The PAB community engages in meaningful social justice work by prioritizing the voices and needs of those impacted by injustices, cultivating sustainable community partnerships, and facilitating collaborative learning. We provide students with the tools to explore their identity and how it affects their position in the communities we work with and in society as a whole. By integrating education, reflection, and direct service, we hope to foster an ongoing commitment to social change.


Alternate Spring Break (ASB) was founded in 1990 by a group of Penn students who wanted to give others an opportunity to spend their spring breaks meaningfull engaging in communities around the country and joining local organizations in their work. In 2017, the board elected to change the name of the program to Penn Alternative Breaks to better highlight the mission and the renewed focus on engagment beyond the one week trips.

Originally PAB participants worked exclusively with Habitat for Humanity, a nationwide organization that confronts the issues of housing and homelessness by building affordable low-income housing. In 1997, ASB expanded its focus to include trips addressing the environment, education, and food justice, incarceration, healthcare and more.

Over the last three decades, PAB has developed into a  successful organization committed to education and social progress. Each year, over one hundred Penn students participate on PAB trips to various parts of the country. Our PAB alumni pool numbers in the thousands!

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