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Students give back to those in need this March

February 24, 2012

Students are looking to give back over spring break by donating their time to help people who are in need. Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF) is one such group that will be going to Washington, D.C. over Spring Break (March 9-17).

STLF is a non-profit student run organization that strives to pay it forward with service tours.

According to the STLF website, pay it forward tours are nine days long with service projects in six cities.

Each tour consists of up to 40 students. On these trips students will learn about issues affecting other communities across the country. Students will be able to tour the country and meet new people.

This year students will be visiting Fort Wayne, Ind., Columbus, Ohio, Rockford, Ill. Pittsburgh, Pa., Hershey, Pa. and the final stop will be to Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is the celebration city where students meet up with about seven to eight buses full of college students and get a chance to meet other students who are in it for the same cause as they are.

“I am shy so this trip helped me. I was able to make new friends and break out of my comfort zone,” said Lee Thao, 20, a sophomore at UWRF. This tour is about meeting new people, but it is also about helping people.

In each city students will be doing a different project. Some of the activities that students perform on these trips are cleaning up parks, visiting elderly people in nursing homes, painting, buildings, and more.

“Be prepared to be surprised,” said See Vang. “Every year is full of new things and you never know what you are going to be doing.”

“One of our service trips we went to Mount Rushmore and helped take down infected trees and on another trip we helped save a man $20,000 by helping him tear apart a building,” said Vang.

A typical day starts out with a service project in the morning, followed by lunch with the community being served. The bus then travels in the afternoon to the next city where students have the potential for tourism and the evening is finished off by activities and reflection. The students will then spend the night.

“For me it was a life changing experience. You get to travel and see new people, and it gives you a good feeling,” said Chao Xiong, 20 a sophomore at the University. “We sleep on floors in churches, YMCA, and everybody sleeps in one room, it is kind of fun like a camping trip.”

The cost of the trip is $400. This will cover travel, lodging, two t-shirts, two meals a day, and other expenses. There is also a non-refundable $125 down payment to reserve your spot.

For more information about these trips and how to apply you can to www.stlf.net and go to the River Falls chapter. The deadline to get an application in is Feb 29.

“How many opportunities do college students have, and are not taking advantage of it?” said Vang.