Chil­dren in Hon­duras climbed on North­eastern Uni­ver­sity senior Kayla Cormier like she was a big teddy bear.

They loved me. They would tell me not to leave,” said Cormier, a soci­ology major who spent spring break planting mango trees, building a soccer field and helping impov­er­ished chil­dren in Con­cep­tion del Norte, Hon­duras, design a mural of small yellow hand­prints sym­bol­izing daisies.

She was one of more than 160 North­eastern stu­dents who vol­un­teered through the Center of Com­mu­nity Service’s Alter­na­tive Spring Break to help address needs such as afford­able housing, dis­aster relief and youth edu­ca­tion. Stu­dents vol­un­teered in eight states and five coun­tries, including Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Hon­duras and the Dominican Republic.

Ener­getic vol­un­teers in Wash­ington, D.C., and Louisiana said their 10-​​day ser­vice projects made a life­long impact on hun­dreds of people.

Junior phi­los­ophy and Eng­lish double-​​major Peter Roby vol­un­teered for A Wider Circle, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that helps people in need in the nation’s cap­ital by pro­viding free fur­ni­ture for their homes.

Roby, who said that “sleeper-​​sofas are the heav­iest thing you will lift in your entire life,” spent eight hours a day moving tables, chairs and toys from trucks to a show­room filled with fur­ni­ture donated to the nonprofit.

This is more than just a band-​​aid solu­tion to poverty,” said Roby, who also helped remove moun­tains of trash and broken fur­ni­ture from the show­room, where kids often picked out games and toys to bring back home. “It’s really pow­erful and moving to see the smile on people’s faces when they see the fur­ni­ture,” he said.

Third-​​year mar­keting major Allison Crotty vol­un­teered for Katrina’s Kids, an ini­tia­tive launched by America’s Promise Alliance that edu­cates chil­dren in Louisiana who were dis­placed by Hur­ri­cane Katrina.

Crotty tutored a 9-​​year-​​old boy named Amani who tem­porarily moved to Texas with his twin sister after their house was destroyed by the dis­aster. Amani, like many of Katrina’s kids, had not gone to school on a reg­ular basis for sev­eral years.

Kids were shaken up and didn’t believe in them­selves,” said Crotty, who also helped paint a room for the organization’s after-​​school pro­gram in bright orange, green and purple. As she put it, “We were there to tell them that they’re smart, and they truly are.”

North­eastern stu­dents, who reflected on their expe­ri­ences after each day of hard work, learned as much about them­selves as they did the cul­ture, his­tory and people of the com­mu­ni­ties where they vol­un­teered, said Andrew Olson, assis­tant director of com­mu­nity ser­vice pro­grams and events.

Stu­dents real­ized that their expe­ri­ences changed them as indi­vid­uals and as a group,” said Olson, who served as a uni­ver­sity rep­re­sen­ta­tive for stu­dents who rebuilt a home in Louisiana for a woman with cystic fibrosis. “It gave them an appre­ci­a­tion for how lucky they are.”