Applications are now open for the 2016 Alternative Spring Break programs, sponsored by the HWS Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL), with a number of locations across New York State and the East Coast.
“Alternative Spring Breaks provide amazing opportunities for students to make connections with people they wouldn’t necessarily meet in their everyday lives,” says Jeremy Wattles, associate director of CCESL and a leading organizer of the trips. “Besides doing important work, you get to experience a different culture.”
Offerings include education-oriented programs at the Mariam Boyd Elementary School in Warrenton, N.C., where HWS volunteers will work one-on-one with students at the rural school. The program at Peace by Piece in Stony Point, N.Y., will focus on building community dialogues around peace advocacy. The Rural and Migrant Ministry program in Lyons, N.Y., centers on education, immigration and the power dynamics between large agricultural businesses and the migrant workers who sustain them.
At the Pocahontas State Park program in Virginia, students will help maintain park facilities and the area’s natural resources. The Hurricane Joaquin Flood Relief program in South Carolina puts students in communities to help rebuild homes damaged by the record-breaking floods, and assist organizations like food banks and after-school programs that were directly impacted by the natural disaster.
In addition to the chance to build friendships with fellow students and the communities they are serving, “students have an opportunity to get hands-on experience with important social issues in society,” says Wattles, and “to reflect on these issues. There’s a lot to process by the end of the day, so taking the time for students to get comfortable talking with each other, and to begin connecting the issues that they encounter into a larger, more global context, is really important to us.”
Online applications are accepted on a rolling basis through Friday, Jan. 29.
All CCESL-organized Spring Break service trips are led by an HWS faculty or staff member, and include meals and lodging. Visit the Alternative Spring Break page for program details. Contact CCESL with question at firstname.lastname@example.org.