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What we are focusing on

Fall Break 2015 Category A: Driving

Appalachian Culture and Simple Living Through working with the Catholic Worker House you will be immersed into the simple lifestyle of the Appalachian region and learn the importance and effects of conserving natural resources. Service will vary depending on the needs of the site at the time. Education will include topics such as the coal mining industry and fracking.

Sustaining Urban Micro-farms On this trip, you will learn about the presence of food deserts in urban areas, and work with an organization that addresses food deserts through community gardens, cooking classes, a composting program, and even urban chicken keeping! Your service will involve outside work in the community gardens.

The Effects of Gentrification on a Community in a Historic Area On this trip, you will work with multiple organizations to learn about a historic neighborhood and the ways in which it has been impacted by gentrification. Service varies daily, but you will be addressing the issues surrounding homelessness and poverty.


Spring Category A: Driving

A Glimpse of Homelessness- This immersion experience will allow participants to hear personal stories from men living without a home and experience that reality for a short time. Participants will live as an individual experiencing homelessness, while coming to understand the struggles, adversities, and generosity found on the streets. Additionally participants will work with a local organization helping people overcome homelessness through a warm meal and other practical assistance.

Adults with Cognitive Disabilities-The L’Arche community offers participants a chance to engage with adults with cognitive disabilities through service, education, and companionship. Participants will be able to interact with core members and staff in the community to better understand how these incredible individuals can enhance, challenge, and create an impact on society.

Alleviating the Effects of Gangs on Youth: A Look at Preventative Programs-Participants will work with state gang prevention to learn about gangs and the violence they cause in an inner city population. Working mainly with children and adolescents, participants have the opportunity to work in after- school programs and youth centers. Additional educational opportunities include working with city police and leading gang specialists. This trip is mainly focused on education activities, however, students may be doing some construction work as part of prevention programs.

An Inside Look at Prison Injustice: Participants will learn about the prison justice system alongside residents of a halfway house. This urban immersion experience will allow opportunity to work with youth as part of an after-school program. Participants will also gain a unique perspective by touring an active prison and meeting with various employees.

Elderly Living in America-Through direct service at a nursing and rehabilitation center, as well as at a continuing care retirement center, participants spend spring break investigating the challenges and opportunities of elderly living the United States through the eyes of those who live it every day.

The Inaccessibility of Communities: United Cerebral Palsy- Participants will have the opportunity to work in different communities constructing wheelchair ramps at various homes. Along with this service, the group will explore the issues of accessibility in communities as well as learn about how disabilities affect individuals in their day-to-day activities

Mountain Top Removal: An Inside Look at Coal Mining in Appalachia-Much of our region’s electricity is sourced from coal from the Appalachian region. As a result, participants will explore the complex nature of the issue of coal mining, especially the practice of mountain top removal, coal mining, and the industries’ impact on Appalachian communities. The group will hear first-hand accounts from coal miners, activists, government officials, and community members. The group will also visit the sites of interest and enjoy cultural events in the community. Service will likely include helping low- income Appalachians weatherize their homes and planting trees on a former mountain top mine site. This trip includes a lot of outdoor time including some active and strenuous activities.

Refugee Resettlement in America-Participants will be educated on what it means to be a refugee living in America today by interacting directly with refugee families through community outreach programs, employment mentoring, and new home refurbishing. The combination of education and interaction will enable participants to shed light on this controversial issue and make human connections.

The Rights and Welfare of Animals- Participants will be working at an animal sanctuary where they will be assisting the host organization in maintaining their property. They will have the opportunity to work alongside rescued animals and will participate in various educational/cooking classes throughout the week. Participants must be willing to maintain a vegan lifestyle for the week out of respect for the community with which they will be working.

Urban Schools as Community Learning Centers-Participants will work with an organization dedicated to school and neighborhood improvement through the implementation of community learning centers. By working in public schools throughout the school day as well as after, participants will see how public schools can become the hub of educational, cultural, recreational, and health partnerships within a community.

Spring Category B: Flying, Short-Distance

Conservation of our Native Ecosystems- On this trip participants will learn about the threats posed by invasive species, the on-going history of an exceptional ecosystem, and the importance of conserving biodiversity. Through exposure to various facets of an ecosystem and partnering with a local conservancy participants will get a unique understanding of conservation efforts and her or his role in the preservation of local environments.

Exploring the Roots of Our Nations: The Oglala Lakota People-Participants will gain insight into the lives of the Oglala Lakota by learning about their history, culture, and living conditions on the reservation. Through direct service, participants will have the opportunity to meet and interact with members of the tribe. Projects may include building ramps, restoring bunk beds, skirting trailers, and chopping firewood. Additional educational opportunities include evening speakers and tours around the reservation.

Immigration: A Look into a Difficult Journey: It goes without saying that immigration is a hot button issue and there is much to learn about the pushes and pulls instigating the migration process along our country’s southern border. Through direct service with immigrants, outreach runs, visits with Border Patrol and exposure to the realities of crossing the border, the group will have a better understanding of the human sides of the immigration story. A passport is required and some faith-based reflection will be facilitated by our host organization.

Substance Abuse: Prevention and Treatment Education- Participants will explore the issue of substance abuse and the effect that it has on individuals, families, and communities. Participants will labor on a rehabilitation farm, performing tasks alongside the men in recovery that live there. The host organization focuses on community outreach, prevention, and treatment.

Urban Agriculture and Sustainability-This trip will teach participants the importance of locally-sourced food as well as the countless benefits that come with eating organically. Working at an urban garden will enlighten participants as to how choosing locally-grown, organic food over shopping at big-box stores promotes a healthy self, economy, and community. Additionally, participants will connect with a local university that is committed to integrating sustainability principles and practices into all aspects of their campus.

Spring Category C: Flying, Long-Distance

Water in Communities: In addition to experiencing a powerful cultural immersion, participants will learn about permaculture design of ecosystems and specifically about rainwater management systems. This trip will educate participants on ways in which they can better structure their ecosystems for the benefit of both humans and the Earth, and participants will help implement a rainwater management system in the community. Participants will return with ideas of how to use this knowledge of permaculture in their lives.


Summer Category A: Driving

Securing Food in an Urban Population: Participants will advance healthy food access by working with organizations committed to involving local residents from seed to sale to plate. Service will include working with a variety of organizations including urban farms and a resource?program working to restore the community's connection with the environment and its food sources. The trip will explore long-term solutions to hunger through direct service on urban farms as well as in the food banks and soup kitchens.


Summer Category B: Flying, Long-Distance


National Parks: Natural Systems Restoration: Participants will work alongside park staff to identify and eliminate threats to the natural environment. The service project will be relevant to needs of the park at the time but could include trail restoration, invasive species removal, or manual thinning of the forest for prescribed wildfires. Participants will be able to spend a week experiencing some of the greatest natural wonders in the country and learning about ways to preserve them for future generations._


Summer Category C: Flying, Long-Distance


Discovering Realities of a Post-War Community: Participants will spend more than a week immersed in a culture with historic and direct ties to the United States and the Jesuits. Participants will be exposed to a variety of issues that this particular community faces including both economic and human rights issues. There will be opportunity to work with local human rights and religious leaders, government officials, farmers, laborers, and youth in both an urban center and a homestay in a rural community.