2019 Spring Break Experiences!

We are excited to announce our 2019 spring break experiences!  This year we are covering a wide range of social issues, traveling to new places, and for the first time, doing a domestic flying trip! We invite you to read in-depth about each experience to best choose what interests you!

Indigenous Nations: Fostering reservation wellbeing & supporting native identity

Tuba City, AZ | March 23-30, 2019 | Flying | $500

Investigate the factors at play surrounding impoverished native reservations across America by working with the Red Feather Development Group and the Moenkopi Senior center to improve housing for a low income native family and to learn about Hopi and Navajo culture.

Native American culture is bright yet their history has been plagued with loss and poverty ever since the colonial era. In modern times, reservations are still struggling to prosper. Now, Native American communities are fighting poverty, high rates of suicide, drug problems, and alcoholism. Widespread poverty can lower quality of life and general happiness. Many native people living on reservations are living in inadequate and unhealthy housing. Team members will work with local residents to repair and improve their residences and learn about housing upkeep practices. The team will also dive into discovering and supporting native culture by planning a day of activities with Hopi members at the Moenkopi senior center. Through hands-on and engaging experiences, team members will be able to give back to the native community and better understand the poverty that is common on native reservations, along with gaining increased appreciation for the true native identity.

 

Homeless Veterans: Supporting the men & women who served us

Colorado Springs, CO | March 23-30, 2019 | Driving | $300

Visit one of the most densely populated veteran communities in the U.S. and work with Colorado Veterans Resource Coalition to renovate living quarters for veterans who are homeless and receiving support for mental health or substance abuse.

Colorado Springs has over 50,000 citizens who served in the military, making it one of the highest military veteran populations in the country. Unfortunately, veterans have twice the likelihood of becoming homeless as other Americans due to factors including a shortage of affordable housing, large skill gaps between the military and civilian world, and lack of social support networks. In addition, many of these veterans come back home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which only escalates the struggle of readjusting back to their lifestyle. The Colorado Veterans Resource Coalition (CVRC) provides veterans with emergency housing and offers programs on substance abuse and mental health to get them back on their feet. Team members will work specifically with CVRC’s Crawford House, renovating rooms and living quarters for homeless veterans. Through working directly with Crawford House’s program director, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran with 24 years of service, students will gain an understanding of the positive impact our service members make on our country and the support networks that they need when coming home.

 

Wildlife Conservation: Implementing solutions to protect the diversity of our planet

New Orleans, LA | March 23-30, 2019 | Driving | $300

Explore the current issues regarding animal welfare and conservation as we work with the Audubon Nature Institute to maintain facilities such as their animal rehabilitation center, zoo, and aquarium.

There are currently 41,415different species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Red List includes all species that are endangered at varying levels; some animals have only 30 left of their species, while others have a few hundred. Either way, they all need protection. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, the world has lost half of its species in the past 40 years. Audubon Nature Institute, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, has programs in place to protect a wide variety of these red listed species, including a zoo, an aquarium, an insectarium, a 5,000 acre animal rehabilitation area, an insect breeding area, and a nature center. All of these facilities work to increase knowledge of endangered species or work first hand towards the preservation of these animals. The team will gain hands-on experience by helping maintain facilities through minor construction projects, removing invasive plant species, helping with special events, working around animals, and engaging in discussion with animal experts. By doing this, our team hopes to contribute to the salvation of various species over time. While we work to create a positive environment and gain knowledge through first-hand experience, team members will get to see some of the endangered species we are working to protect and keep alive for years to come.  

 

Education & the Arts: Investigating the effects of education cutbacks in rural America

Charleston, WV | March 23-30, 2019 | Driving | $300

Analyze and engage the underfunded educational systems of the Appalachia region as we work with the Charleston Public Arts Department to bring art awareness to the city, and assist Step By Step WV with after school programs to provide art enrichment to kids in rural schools.

West Virginia is a rural state located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by coal mines and national forests. While this area is unique in its beauty, public education has struggled for more than 20 years. One in five teachers leaves West Virginia's public education system after just one year of teaching.  Although teachers recently gained a 5% increase in pay through a 9 day strike, West Virginia is still among the 5 lowest states in the nation for teacher pay. Underfunding and unbalanced state budgets have resulted in cutting back the education budget by 4 percent per student per year. Because of these cuts, supplemental courses have been the first to be cut back, including the arts. To help combat this trend, team members will work with Step by Step West Virginia to run an after-school art camp over the course of the week. Our team will also pair with WV students before the trip to act as pen pals, instilling a positive image of art and education from a role model perspective. In addition, team members will be working alongside the Charleston Public Arts department to host a community mural painting day in the city, raising its citizens’ awareness of art in the city.

 

Hunger & Homelessness: Combatting food insecurity to improve quality of life

Conway, AR| March 24-28, 2019 | Driving | $200

Help address food insecurity and homelessness by working with the Community Action Program of Central Arkansas to sort and serve food and interact with people experiencing homelessness.

No one should go to sleep hungry. Over the past few years, Arkansas has been placed among the worst states for food security.  Although the national average of people who don’t have secure, continuous access to food is about 13.4%, according to the last census Arkansas was experiencing a 19.2% food insecurity rate. This is equivalent to over 560,000 residents in the state experiencing insufficient amounts of food within the last 12 months. Food insecurity is closely tied to people living below the poverty line. Statistics show that poverty touches a large proportion of Americans over their lifetime. Sometimes it is a chronic condition that persists over several generations. More often, poverty comes as a consequence of life’s unremarkable tragedies-illness, job loss, divorce or disability – that can destroy a family’s ability to support itself.  In order for people to succeed and thrive, their basic needs must first be met.  The Community Action Program for Central Arkansas is dedicated to providing opportunity and resources that are essential for their community members to succeed.  Team members will work with some of CAPCA’s many programs to help address the issues of food insecurity and homelessness in Conway, Arkansas.  Our team will work to sort, organize, and distribute food through the food pantry and interact with locals through Project Homeless Connect. Through helping to provide Conway residents with basic needs, we can help empower lives, expand self-awareness, and increase community involvement.

 

To apply for one of these experiences, find the application HERE.