March 9th-17th, 2013
Guyan Valley, WV $450/person
Theme: Poverty in Appalachia
The region of the U.S. known as Appalachia is at Lexington’s back door, yet the reality many Appalachian families face remain unknown to many Kentuckians. In the Guyan Valley region in West Virginia, one in four families lives at or below the national poverty line and many of these families’ homes are in various states of disrepair. The Appalachian Service Project (ASP) works with low-income families in Central Appalachia to make basic repairs to their homes that they could not otherwise afford. Volunteers will assist ASP with basic home repair in working toward the organization’s mission to: “make homes warmer, safer and drier for needy families.” Volunteers will spend time with their host families and become immersed in the culture of rural Appalachia. Service activities will be supplemented by nightly lessons on the history of Appalachia including social issues prevalent in this area. Dorm-style housing and basic meals will be provided by ASP. For more information, visit: www.asphome.org.
Atlanta, GA $300/person
Theme: Refugee Resettlement
Imagine losing everything you own, including your home and family; imagine being thrust into a new and strange culture that speaks a different language than you. Every day, refugees entering the United States experience this fear and uncertainty, hoping to find a safe haven for a new life. As one of the largest refugee resettlement areas in the U.S., Atlanta-based non-profit organizations work to assist displaced refugees, victims of human trafficking, and Cuban/Haitian entrants to resettle in the U.S. and regain self-sufficiency. Today’s refugees come from many different cultures experiencing the effects of prolonged civil wars and massive human suffering. Volunteers on this trip will assist organizations that provide refugees with human services, youth programs, health services, education programs, etc. Students will learn what it means to be a refugee in the United States. Dorm-style housing and basic meals in Atlanta will be provided. Volunteers will also spend one free day as a group exploring Atlanta and visiting important sites of the city.
Biloxi, MS $375/person
Theme: Rebuilding After Katrina
In 2005, Hurricane Katina devastated the Atlantic coast of the United States, causing an estimated $81 billion in property damage. Six years later, areas of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are still in a state of recovery and rebuilding. Volunteers who travel to Biloxi, Mississippi will work with Hope Community Development Agency, a non-profit organization devoted to the rebuilding and recovery of the Gulf Coast area after Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers will assist with housing recovery and community development programs. Dorm-style housing and basic meals in Biloxi will be provided. Volunteers will also spend one free day as a group being exposed to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and experiencing the Gulf Coast area as community rebuilding itself. For more information, visit: www.hopecda.org/.
Washington, DC $300 $575/person
Theme: Hunger and Homelessness
Washington D.C. is a major hub for social advocacy and change in the United States, involving politicians, activists, and young people eager to make positive change in our world. Volunteers traveling to Washington D.C. will work with the non-profit organization Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP), which is “committed to helping young people become part of the solution to societal problems.” YSOP was founded in 1983 to show young people how even their smallest actions can make a difference in the lives of others; last year over 4,800 young people volunteers more than 427,600 hours of direct service to hungry and homeless people through YSOP. Volunteers will prepare and serve meals at soup kitchens, provide recreational activities and companionship to young, formerly homeless children, distribute food and supplies at food pantries, and socialize and bring snacks to people in drop-in homeless shelters. In addition, volunteers will spend one free day as a group visiting sites in the city that commemorate social movements in our nation’s history. Dorm-style housing will be provided by a local hostel and the group will prepare its own meals at the hostel. For more information, visit: www.ysop.org.
Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic $1925/person
Theme: Global Youth Empowerment
Volunteers traveling to the region of Monte Cristi in the Dominican Republic will work with the non-profit organization Outreach 360 (formerly Orphanage Outreach), whose primary mission is to “Release the Hero Within – to involve people to provide opportunities to orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged children in the Dominican Republic.” Specifically, volunteers will participate in Orphanage 360’s Teach Corps-English Education program, helping to teach children in Dominican schools basic English language skills. Volunteers will stay at an orphanage supported by Outreach360 while in the Dominican Republic and partake of local food which will be prepared and served by Outreach360 staff. Staff will provide opportunities for volunteers to learn more about the history and culture of the Dominican Republic, including issues affecting youth and education, and volunteers will spend one free day as a group exploring a local market, visiting historic landmarks, and/or going to the beach. Group flights to the Dominican Republic will be booked by Alternative Service Breaks. For more information, visit: www.outreach360.org.
Santo Domingo, Ecuador $2150/person
Issue: Global Health and Wellness
Join Alternative Service Breaks on our first-ever partnership with Shoulder-to-Shoulder Global (STSG) an organization created at the University of Kentucky to “to improve the health and well-being of impoverished and underserved communities globally.” STSG routinely sends medical brigades to Ecuador in order to fulfill its mission, and this year, STSG and Alternative Service Breaks have teamed up to send a spring break brigade. The initial focus of STSG has been in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, where it operates a year-round health clinic. While providing primary health care for this community, STSG also works with surrounding communities to improve education, public health, access to safe water, and to improve economic opportunities. Volunteers will engage in service projects as identified by the health clinic and STSG staff, possibly to include assisting in the health clinic and providing community health education. STSG seeks to foster a lasting relationship with the Santo Domingo community in order to nurture true community growth. Through this experience, volunteers will learn more about health-related issues facing Ecuadorians, understand the importance of outreach work in addressing these issues, and gain basic knowledge about the history and culture of Ecuador. Volunteers will spend free time as a group experiencing Ecuadorian culture through food, music, and activities such as a visiting the equator line in Mindo, hot springs in Papallacta, and museums, churches, and shops in Quito. Group flights to Ecuador will be booked by Alternative Service Breaks. For more information, visit: www.stsglobal.org.