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Inspiring Change: SCNTR’s Alternative Break Program Engages Students Nationwide

The Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation (SCNTR)’s Alternative Break Program is an initiative that invites student groups from universities across the United States to Selma. This not only exposes students to the rich history and ongoing social justice efforts in Selma but also actively involves them in meaningful service learning and training opportunities in Selma and Dallas County.

Throughout March, we were thrilled to welcome diverse student groups from several esteemed universities:

Illinois State University

University of North Georgia

Indiana University

Northeastern Illinois University

Bridgewater State University

Georgia Gwinnett College

A group of people from diverse backgrounds posing as a group
A group poses after completing a restorative justice circle.

These students embarked on a transformative journey with us, participating in a series of educational and hands-on experiences designed to deepen their understanding of civil rights, nonviolence, and racial equity.

Training for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Students sitting in chairs listening to a presentation
Students participate in a training and talk at the SCNTR

The core of the Alternative Break Program lies in its comprehensive training sessions offered to participants. Students engaged in a variety of topics through our Beyond Divide and Conquer: Unite and Build Racial Equity Training where students explored the complex history and current realities of race relations in the United States, our Kingian Nonviolence Training that draws on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles, equipping students with strategies for peaceful conflict resolution and advocacy for social change, and our Restorative Circle Training introducing students to restorative justice practices, focusing on healing and reconciliation within communities.

Beyond the classroom, students engaged in various service learning projects throughout Selma with organizations like the Local Farm Cooperative, a cooperative business that the SCNTR helped to incubate. These projectsallowed them to apply their new knowledge in practical settings while making tangible contributions to the community. From revitalizing local spaces to working on issues of food access and hunger, students left a positive impact on Selma and the greater community.

A group poses for a selfie
Students and the SCNTR Director or Training Nikesha Tilton

The Alternative Break Program enriches the lives of the students who participate and invigorates our community with fresh perspectives and renewed energy. Each group brings unique insights and enthusiasm, which help fuel our ongoing projects and initiatives.

As we continue to host more groups throughout the year, we look forward to forging new connections, inspiring more young leaders to understand their power in social change, and advancing our mission of nonviolence and truth. For universities interested in participating in future sessions or anyone wishing to learn more about our Alternative Break Program, please contact Miss Carolyn Picket at for more details.

The impact of these immersive experiences is profound, as students return to their campuses equipped to lead and inspire change, further spreading the vital message of nonviolence and justice. Your support can help ensure this program continues to be sustainable. Click here to donate and add your support, and make sure to join our monthly newsletter for all of the cool updates about what the SCNTR is doing and how you can be involved.

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