MLK Weekend Trip
Building the Beloved Community: Using History to Explore Civil Rights, Social Movements, and Systems of Oppression
Date: January 12-15, 2018
Issue: Civil Rights & Social Movements
Student Coordinators: Michaela Shenberger & Connor Jones
Organization: Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation
Location: Selma, Alabama
Fifty years after the passing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this trip takes us to Selma, Alabama, a city with a deep history in the Civil Rights Movement. Selma has come a long way, but still has work to do when it comes to community building and the issue of segregation. This trip aims to explore the issue of civil rights in America while gaining a deeper understanding of how effective social movements form and the links between systems of oppression. We will be working with the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation, a respected community organization striving to build “The Beloved Community,” Dr. King’s global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. This experience will include working with their farm to table co-op (focused on poverty and food insecurity), collecting oral histories of foot soldiers for the National Voting Rights museum, and canvassing for voter registration in the community.
Spring Break Trips
A Vision of Care: Supporting Children’s Visual Needs in Urban and Rural Communities
Date: March 12-17, 2018
Issue: Community Health, Youth Development
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Imagine trying to learn your letters without your most valuable sense: sight. For some children, that sense is already failing them, and no one has noticed. Poor vision causes reduced academic performance, a substandard education, and low self-esteem. We know that vision screenings are most effective during the preschool years, when early identification and treatment of many conditions can prevent irreversible vision damage or loss. Unfortunately, many young children are known to need eye care, but the vast majority goes without it. FocusFirst ensures that children in urban and rural communities receive comprehensive vision care during their crucial formative years. On this trip, you will use a digital screening camera to screen children for vision problems ranging from near- and farsightedness to amblyopia (lazy eye) and cataracts. The camera provides an immediate pass/fail result, and all children who fail the screening will be connected with comprehensive follow-up care.
Community Organizing with Hope: Understanding the Intersectional Realities of Immigration, Environmental Racism, and Agriculture
Date: March 11-14, 2018
Issues: Immigration, Agriculture
Organization: Hope CommUnity Center
Student Coordinators: Darrell Deas & Courtney Durbin
Location: Apopka, Florida
This trip seeks to provide understanding about the experiences of immigrant and farm working families in Central Florida, a group that provides a great deal of our nation’s fruits, vegetables, and horticulture. Through an exploration of issues related to environmental racism, fair food, immigrant rights and immigration reform, institutional racism, agricultural labor practices, and community organizing, Hope CommUnity Center offers homestays with immigrant families, as well as farm working experiences in vegetable fields, citrus groves, and plant nurseries. Participants come face to face with the lives and context of farm workers and immigrant families, entering experiences that build solidarity and a sense of mission to serve and learn from the immigrant community and working poor. Everyday life experiences will help participants better understand the realities of immigrants, migratory and seasonal agricultural workers, and grassroots community organizing efforts.
Living Off the Land: Practicing Sustainability with Love of Earth, Others, and Self
Date: March 10-17, 2018
Issue: Sustainability, Permaculture, and Personal Empowerment
Student Coordinators: Alyson Rezendes & Emily McDonald
Organization: Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm
Location: Boone, North Carolina
In this technologically overwhelmed society, many individuals take for granted the easy accessibility of food. Through living off the land in the Appalachian Mountains, participants will have the opportunity to learn about Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm’s community-centered medicinal goods, food, and art, and give thanks to the abundance and joy that surrounds us always. Our team will stay in a hand-built mountain cabin without the use of electricity for a humbling experience away from technology in partnership with an organization that strives to nourish its community. From feeding farm animals, to building fences and outhouses, to hiking up glorious mountain ranges, to planting fruits and veggies, chopping wood, as well as learning about crystal wrapping and spirituality, the Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm is a trip is one that will enrich the spirit of those who attend as well as enriching the community.
Rising Above with WINGS: Developing Social and Emotional Skills in Underserved Communities
Date: March 10-17, 2018
Student Coordinators: Kelly Ramirez & Maicie Ramirez
Organization: WINGS for Kids
Location: Charleston, SC
Communities of low socio-economic status often suffer from a lack of adequate educational resources. The impact of this can be devastating as it leads to poor academic retention and lower possibilities of pursuing a higher education. The unequal access to a quality education further perpetuates the cycle of poverty in underserved communities. To take a closer look into education and youth development, we will serve with WINGS, an after-school program in Charleston, SC. WINGS strives to foster academic success and a positive, healthy lifestyle for children from low-income areas by focusing on promoting social and emotional skills. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of this unique curriculum by directly serving alongside a WINGS Leader and students in grades K-5. We will also visit local schools attended by WINGS students to learn more about the state of education in Charleston and the long-term effects of the after school program in institutions of learning.
Breaking Free: Addressing Human Trafficking Locally Through Education, Empowerment, and Service
Date: March 10-17, 2018
Issue: Human Trafficking
Student Coordinators: Kayla Cabrera & Charles Maggitas
Location: Miami, Florida
Over 50,000 people are current victims of human trafficking, modern day slavery, around the world. Many are placed under forced labor, sexually exploited, or have their organs removed involuntarily. The Freedom of Life Center in Miami, Florida, seeks to encourage awareness in the community, engage in outreach and service, and support victims of human trafficking at the grassroots level. We will be joining them over Spring Break for a week of education and service. During the week, we will be participating in workshops, learning about human trafficking directly from Survivors, participating in service projects, and discovering how we can transfer what we have learned back to our own communities.
Food for Thought: Exploring Food Insecurity through Community Outreach, Nutrition Education, and Youth Development
Date: March 10-17, 2018
Issue: Food Insecurity, Health, Hunger, & Nutrition
Student Coordinators: Alex Mackey & Michelle Lee
Organization: YMCA of Western North Carolina
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
An estimated 1 in 8 Americans suffer from food insecurity, leaving 42 million Americans (including 13 million children) without access to affordable, nutritious food. Poor nutrition in childhood puts youth at greater risk for developing chronic diseases later in life, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Because of this, it is important to instill healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle choices at a young age. On our trip we will be partnering with YMCA of Western North Carolina to help combat the effects of hunger and food insecurity through nutrition education and food distribution via a Mobile Kitchen unit, garden expansion/harvesting, 1-1 youth mentoring, and facilitating youth sports.
Digging Deeper: Investigating Food Sustainability as a Public Health Issue
Date: March 10-17, 2018
Issue: Food Sustainability
Student Coordinators: Mackenzie Bell & Lucia Sicius
Organization: Long Branch Environmental Education Center
Location: Leicester, North Carolina
Our long-term food security is under threat because of a host of environmental issues such as climate change, and the irresponsible food cultivation and use of resources. During this experience, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about living in a self-reliant manner, organic farming and gardening, as well as conservation. On our trip we will be assisting Long Branch with organic gardening of various crops, as well as harvesting nuts and berries. We will also help Long Branch with activities involved in environmentally responsible design, including solar panels. There is also the opportunity to get involved in bee keeping if there is interest. Our overall goal for this experience is to attempt to chip away at a widespread social issue by learning more about permaculture lifestyle and responsible, sustainable living in order to take some of the methods we learn in North Carolina and apply them to our daily lives in Tallahassee.
Something to Digest: Analyzing Hunger through the Lens of Education
Issue: Hunger, Food Education
Student Coordinators: Marquita Rusley & Nkechi Emetuche
Organizations: Metropolitan Ministries and Sweetwater Organic Farm
Location: Tampa, Florida
The current perception of hunger does not accurately depict the communities affected by this issue. The miseducation of the many faces of hunger has allowed for the crisis to persist and the individuals affected by it to go unnoticed. Through this trip, we hope to deconstruct some of the misconceptions of the hunger crisis. We are partnering with Metropolitan Ministries and Sweetwater Farms to explore the root causes and the resulting consequences of the hunger crisis. With hands on engagements ranging from meal preparation/serving, after-school care, and harvesting, we hope to use these experiences to empower communities facing systematic cycles of hunger.