By: Jen Russon
College admission officers are looking for more than good grades and certain number of service hours. They want to see applicants who show passion, leadership and commitment. A way to obtain all three this summer is through the Breakspot Summer Program, organized by the Coral Springs Police Department.
Summer Breakspot is a product of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. While Breakspot was originally intended to serve free meals at sites like churches, schools and libraries over the summer, the city of Coral Springs expanded it into a summer camp four years ago.
Held at James S. Hunt Elementary School, the volunteer program takes place for six weeks during June and July. Volunteers will assist in providing food enrichment and safety to under-served children between the ages of 6-11, who reside within the city.
Coral Springs Police Officers will be assigned to groups of junior camp counselors, who work with children between the first and fifth grades. In addition to serving free, nutritious meals, volunteers lead reading activites, arts and crafts projects, along with sports and other enrichment activities.
Monica Vargas, community involvement coordinator for the city described Breakspot as a tremendous opportunity to not only give back to the community, but earn service hours alongside the men and women of Coral Springs Police.
“The officers and their junior counselors might teach CPR, have the fire department come out, or do a bike safety unit”, Vargas said, giving examples of daily enrichment activities. She indicated about 40 volunteers have signed up so far, many of them applying through their high school resource officers.
At J.P. Taravella, an early childhood education teacher spoke about Breakspot’s popularity.
“I work at Taravella and have referred several students to this summer opportunity – they all come back saying they loved it. It’s a great program,” said Marilou Raham.
To qualify, students must be at least 15 years of age. While there is a soft background check, most applicants are approved following a brief interview with their site police officer.
“Teens who have volunteered previously have said this program impacted their lives in such a positive way, it encouraged their friends to get involved,” she said.
Students who are interested in volunteering must be willing to volunteer at least two consecutive weeks. Breakspot takes place Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays only from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A teen volunteer application can be submitted online.
James S. Hunt Elementary, where volunteers report for duty, is located at 7800 NW 35th Court, east of Riverside Drive.
2019 Program Dates:
June 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
July 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25
Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.