Have you been interested in volunteering and going on a trip during winter break? Do you want to give back and make a difference in a community that is underprivileged? Have you always wanted to be a part of a team and be able to travel, but didn’t know how and where? Well, you’re in luck because the Service Learning Center at HCC offers Alternative Breaks. Alternative Break trips allow students to travel to a new location with a group of fellow students and two staff/faculty advisors to explore critical social issues through meaningful service, education, and reflection. Each trip features a different social issue area of focus, community partner, and domestic or international location. This winter break, they will travel south to learn alongside and volunteer with several nonprofit organizations that seek to understand the history and challenges of the criminal justice system in America. Throughout the week, students will spend time with organizations that work to support individuals and families who are currently experiencing the impacts of incarceration or transitioning out of the prison system. Additionally, there will be opportunities to engage with organizations that are working to interrupt the cyclical nature of the judicial system in some regions of our country and within families.
I spoke with Jessica Klug, the operational manager of the Service Learning Center to get her input on the benefits of participating in Alternative Breaks:”Students should participate in our Alternative Break trip because it’s a fantastic means to gain real-world experience, to be exposed to an important social issue, and to be able to bring that experience back into your local community to increase awareness and hopefully make change. It’s also an extremely rewarding, engaging, and fun way to enhance your college experience.” Another person I spoke to is the Director of Service Learning, Cindy Desi, who said “Alternative Breaks are a great opportunity for students to step outside their comfort zone and explore new perspectives around issues they are passionate about! It offers students a chance to immerse themselves in a different environment and learn alongside their peers about how different communities tackle larger social issues”. If this sound’s like something you’re interested in and you would like to be a part of this great experience, the steps to participate includes an application, interview, and $250 which covers transportation, lodging, and food (the rest of it is covered by Service Learning). It can be found at the Service Learning office in (MH120), 1st floor of Duncan Hall, Galleria, and HVPA building, and online. The applications are available now and due by October 24th. If you have any more questions email at [email protected] or call 443-518-1885.