Doing Good in the Badlands
Student Leaders: Thomas Neil, Reed Caron
Student Coordinator: Shanna Nichols
We will be taking a team to Rosebud Reservation in rural South Dakota, within driving distance of the famous Badlands National Park. Our first week we will partner with Habitat for Humanity as they work on homes in an under-served area. Our second week we will help the local Boys and Girls Club on programming with local kids and projects. Through some alumni contacts, we may also visit the local schools the second week and lend a hand to high schoolers with college applications and forms.
Student Leaders: Kathy Andersen, Noah Most
Student Coordinator: Joo Young Yim
Is America still a nation of immigrants? How are we doing living up to the ideals of "the great experiment"? Whether it's refugees fleeing their countries of origin due to persecution or war, or immigrants struggling to balance assimilation and identity, the ability of our country and our communities to accommodate the most vulnerable among us is an issue of social justice. We will work with the International Institute of St. Louis (IISTL) to learn about the struggles of refugees and immigrants and to assist efforts to ease the incredibly difficult task of integrating into a new society. As an AltBreak we'll focus on essential understandings of community, and in our work, we'll help refugees prepare for economic and social success through the Institute's education and career-training programs.
Building Bridges Toward Educational Success in Early Childhood
Student Leaders: Veronica Vergara, Tracy Pa
Student Coordinator: Tyler Banas
Our focus will be on the importance of Early Childhood Education. We believe that there is an increasing percentage of refusals to continue to a higher-level education because students were not educated at a young age of its importance. Our goal for this Altbreak trip is to inform children that school can be both exciting and safe. Our alternative break will take place in Grinnell and we will be working with Mid-Iowa Community Action. MICA Headstart is dedicated in providing the best education, environment and promotion of good health. Their core principle is the same as ours: the development of children from the early years is the most crucial in success later in life. Under the directions of MICA, we will focus on building self-esteem and a solid educational foundation. We will provide help where we are needed most (from classrooms themselves or doing secretarial work).
Assisting Youth Aging Out of Foster Care in Iowa
Student Leaders: Alyse Hunt, Chi Nguyen
Student Coordinator: Radka Slamova
We will travel to Cedar Rapids, IA for two weeks to work mainly with Four Oaks and other non-profit organizations under Iowa KidsNet. These organizations provide guidance and assistance to ease the transition to adulthood for foster children and at-risk youth. In our trip, we will work on such activities as mentoring foster children, leading workshops on resumes, job interviews and the college application process, fundraising for our cause, painting rooms for the children, etc. We will also assist the organization in canvassing to recruit foster families for foster children. We would ideally like to initiate a long term pen-pal system in which each volunteer is matched with a child as mentor. We also hope that what we learn from these organizations can be applied to start a new volunteer program on the issue of foster care in Grinnell or surrounding cities in Iowa.
Environmental Conservation and Community Development
Student Leaders: Natalie Duncombe, Tefiro Serunjogi
Student Coordinator: Bonnie Brooks
In partnership with Bryan Parras and the organization he founded, T.E.J.A.S, this trip will focus on addressing issues pertaining environmental justice and conservation in Southeast Houston. We will see firsthand how environmental issues disproportionately affect those who are most vulnerable in our communities -- ethnic minorities, the poor, the elderly, the very young, etc. and will learn skills that empower grass roots community organizing around local environmental issues. The communities we will work with are along the Houston Ship Channel and are directly affected by the oil industry, by dredging of the ship channel, the dumping of the sludge near vulnerable communities, and other similar issues. Our work will pay particular attention to addressing the needs of children. See a video Bryan put together about the area at: http://bridgethegulfproject.org/blog/4.
Community Empowerment through Sustainable Agriculture
Student Leaders: Daria Brosius, Linnea Champ
Student Coordinator: Jeremy Sanchez
Our AltBreak trip will travel to Waco, Texas to work with World Hunger Relief Inc., an organization committed to the alleviation of world hunger through the development of sustainable farming techniques. Specifically, we will be working on their farm to gain a better understanding of education on hunger and poverty issues, community development, food security and trade justice. We will also be working with school and community gardens. We will work alongside various organizations in the community to help us understand how farming can positively impact a community. The goal of this trip is to come away with knowledge of poverty and hunger and an understanding of the ability for community based food options can help to both alleviate the issues of lack of food as well as foster a better sense of community. Be prepared to learn how to milk a goat, develop a greater connection to your food, and facilitate a greater community connection.