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We are excited to announce our 2020 spring break experiences! This year we are covering a wide range of social issues and doing an international trip to a country we haven't traveled to before! We invite you to read in-depth about each experience to best choose what interests you!
Community & Infrastructure Development: Creating solutions to foster a healthier community
Alajuela, Costa Rica | March 21-28, 2020 | Flying | $1200
Investigate the reasons behind impoverished communities and Nicaraguan slums throughout Costa Rica as we help Cultural Connections and Volunteers improve living conditions by building stoves, installing flooring, and completing other small renovations.
The Costa Rican and Nicaraguan people have not always had the best relations, however, many Nicaraguan people navigate to Costa Rica in search of better opportunities. With a population of 5 million people in Costa Rica, it is reported that one million citizens currently live in poverty and many live in slums. The conditions in these slums can be inadequate and unhealthy for the community members. Typical homes are built with any materials that the community members can find, have dirt floors, no running water, and many families cook on open fires. These conditions can be harmful to the members of the community and cause numerous health problems. Cooking on an open flame indoors can cause health issues such as early childhood pneumonia, emphysema, lung cancer, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight. The members of the team will work together with locals to restore houses in the community. They will install flooring, construct stoves and take on other small improvements in the community. Through hands-on volunteer work and immersion in the community, the team members will be able to gain a better understanding of the root problems behind impoverished conditions in Latin American countries and an appreciation for exploring new cultures.
Disaster Recovery: rebuilding homes and hope in the wake of katrina
New Orleans, LA | March 21-28, 2020 | Driving | $300
Experience the longstanding impact of Hurricane Katrina almost fifteen years later as we work with Saint Bernard Project to construct and repair houses for those who have been overlooked.
While New Orleans is known for its culture and resilience, there’s a darker side to the story. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina left a massive, lasting impact on New Orleans. Nearly 80% of the city was flooded, and about 10-20% of the city’s population was trapped through the peak of the storm. Many people weren’t aware of the severity of the storm or ways to evacuate, and families living below the poverty line before Katrina especially suffered. They didn’t have access to the resources that could have protected them, such as insurance. Through the rebuilding process, many of the impoverished families were forgotten. In some areas, like the Lower Ninth Ward, you can go blocks without seeing a single home rebuilt. Even fifteen years later, some families still live in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. We will work with The Saint Bernard Project to help these families by rebuilding livable housing for them. Volunteers will help repair and reconstruct safe homes for the families who still feel the impact of Katrina. Miner Challenge volunteers will be trained, educated, and immersed in construction, problems and solutions, and New Orleans culture.
Environmental Conservation: Implementing solutions to protect humanity's only home
Asheville, NC | March 21-28, 2020 | Driving | $300
Explore today’s issues regarding environmental conservation through working with Asheville Greenworks as we engage with modern engineering solutions to clean and preserve the natural environment for future generations.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we are currently at a tipping point for the global environment. The current projected 3°C rise in global temperature during this century would cause irreparable damage to the planet. However, humans have the power to reverse this. With the combined efforts of organizations and individuals, the natural environment can be protected for years to come. Asheville Greenworks, located in Asheville, North Carolina, has a multitude of programs in place to enhance the environment and quality of life for the people & wildlife of Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. This non-profit organization works to educate youth in the importance of environmental conservation, remove litter from the French Broad River & roadways, provide Asheville with community orchards, create pollinator-friendly habitats, and remove invasive species. The team will gain hands-on experience by maintaining community orchards and the tree nursery for native species, live staking along creeks and streams, learning to live a low-waste lifestyle, planting pollinator-friendly plants and trees, and cleaning the roadways/creeks of Buncombe County. Asheville Greenworks also has several uniquely engineered Trash Trout/Trash Booms designed to passively trap litter in surrounding waterways that the team will work with. Through these unique experiences, team members will gain ecological knowledge and see first-hand how the actions of a few well-intentioned individuals can create a great positive impact on the environment for humans and wildlife.
Hunger & Homelessness: Examining and combating urban hunger
Atlanta, GA | March 21-28, 2020 | Driving | $300
Work with Safehouse Outreach and Crossroads Atlanta to address barriers that individuals face with homelessness and food insecurity as we learn how to help by serving in food kitchens, attending educational lessons, and doing community outreach.
According to Feeding America, 72% of households served by its affiliated food banks live at or below the poverty line and 41 million people are currently struggling with hunger in the United States. On any given night there are more than 600,000 homeless people in the U.S., with an estimate of 3,000 people in Atlanta. There are many reasons as to why people are experiencing food insecurity and homelessness today and team members will get to see first hand how to help. The team will dive into service with Safehouse Outreach, a non-profit organization that provides practical, emotional, and physical assistance and support to those in-need and at-risk. The team will be serving meals, connecting with the community, and planning a community event. We will also work in cohorts with Crossroads Atlanta which provides access to resources that empower people who experience homelessness to progress on a road to building a stable life. Students will be preparing and serving food and interacting with those living on the streets. Through working directly with the community and understanding how these issues come to be and how we can help, we hope to make a difference in team members lives and those we serve.
Immigration & Youth: Aiding newly arrived immigrants and discovering the challenges they face
Austin, TX | March 22-29, 2020 | Driving | $300
Understand the hardships faced by immigrants and refugees through volunteering with the refugee shelters Casa Marianella and Posada Esperanza to offer child tutoring and shelter upkeep.
In a country founded by immigrants, the term “immigration” is often a taboo word and can be viewed negatively. A common misconception is that most immigrants are here illegally and sometimes generalized as “thieves” and “criminals.” According to an article by the Pew Research Center, there are over 40 million people living in the United States that were born in a different country and, of that number, about 77% are here legally. The state of Texas has one of the highest numbers of immigrants in the nation which is why our group will travel down south to Austin to learn more about the issue. Through volunteering with the local non-profit organizations Casa Marianella and Posada Esperanza, we will try to help newly immigrated people adapt to the new culture as we inform ourselves about the issue and break the common biases that our society has taught us. Some of the physical work we will do involves preparing the residencies for new arrivals and working on their new-shelter project. In addition to breaking a sweat, we will also tutor children in their school classes. For kids that have been recently separated from their parents or those that are adjusting to a new language and school, a helping hand can go a long way. Come immerse yourself in the immigration culture and have fun with us in the great lone-star state.
* Please note this trip will be traveling Sunday, March 22nd-Sunday March 29th which is different from the other trips.