My Alternative Spring Break Experience

Guest blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

I’ve always seen Spring Break as a beacon of light in my dark, grim world of school.

Ever since the first spring break I can remember, the weeklong break has been both a desire and a necessity.

This year, I spent my Spring Break doing something that I’d never done. I opted to participate in my school’s Alternative Spring Break program and I can honestly say that I enjoyed the experience.

My school’s Alternative Spring Break program takes 4 out of the 5 days of Spring Break and provides area legal services through multiple tracks. This year, there was a range of tracks, including Health Law, Elder Law, and Voting Right Restoration. I initially signed up for Health Law, as that is my preferred legal area.

Instead, I was assigned to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Education. For me, this was uncharted territory, something I’d NEVER dealt with before.

I spent the first 2 days getting an in-depth overview of domestic-violence-related legal issues. We spent hours going through the Violence Against Women’s Act, Child Custody laws, and Orders of Protection. We visited the court and saw how Courts handled the order of protection process. Quite Frankly, it was a lot of information.

After going through the training, we spent time creating brochures that outlined the legal rights of Domestic Violence victims and orchestrating presentations expounding on the related legal rights. We even included a mock trial video so that pro se litigants would know what to expect when requesting orders of protection.

Ultimately, I left the week with the knowledge of a new legal area. I felt as though I’d been a part of something that could truly help domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Initially, felt a bit “down” that I was using my LAST Spring Break to provide “free labor.” I walked away knowing that my work had the potential to really help someone and that made the experience worthwhile.