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Students explore service opportunities during spring break this week

Emory students work with the Bahamas Methodist Habitat on home revitalization in the Pitt Road community in Nassau, Bahamas.

Emory and Oxford College students have the opportunity to make spring break — happening March 10-14 — a transformational experience by participating in Alternative Spring Break trips that focus on service and learning. 

During fall, winter and spring breaks, Volunteer Emory and Leadership Oxford traditionally organize a series of local and regional service trips designed to nurture meaningful student development through projects that offer community engagement, exposure to social justice issues and cultural events, and a unique hands-on education.

The mission of each trip is to allow students to collaborate with non-profits and community change agents through service projects and cultural experiences.

Trip sizes vary from between 12 and 20 participants and may be immersive, engaging students through personal hands-on experiences that may range from repairing homes or working in homeless shelters to assisting with food and community sustainability projects.

Students pay a modest fee to participate; past trips have seen Emory volunteers involved with issues such as poverty and disaster relief, community and culture building, early education and environmental health, international refugee communities, and healthy food and sustainability concerns.

Trips offered this academic year include:

"Reducing the Distance: Homeless Immersion in Atlanta": In the Metro Atlanta area, more than 10,000 people experience homelessness on any given night. Students will experience the challenges of what it means to be homeless in Atlanta, spending seven days and five nights working and sleeping at local non-profits that serve the homeless. They'll be given $7 to cover food for the week. In addition, students will also sleep outside, at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and at homeless shelters.

"You Are My Sunshine: Sustainability in New Orleans, La.": Participants will engage in daily service projects with a focus on sustainability. Activities involve working with local organizations, including the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, which rebuilds sustainable neighborhoods, and The Green Project, which supports programs to decrease environmental impacts.

"We're the Kids In America: Youth Advocacy in Orlando, Fla.": Youth advocacy will be nurtured through mentoring and educational organizations that promote skills necessary for practical and moral development in today's globalizing world. Students will work with Harbor House —an emergency shelter that targets social violence issues through counseling, justice, and education — and help host a prom for children with disabilities.

"Poverty in Perspective: Social Mobility in Appalachia in Knoxville, Tenn.": Participants will be exposed to multi-facted issues surrounding poverty in Knoxville. By working with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Beardsley Farms, students will learn challenges that individuals in impoverished communities face, as well as ways that nonprofits can aid these communities.

"Walk With the Waccamaw Siouan: Native American Cultural Preservation in Bolton, N.C.": Students will engage in cultural activities with members of the Waccamaw Siouan, a small Native American tribe based in Bolton, NC, with a focus on challenges within the tribal community: home and facility building and upkeep; elder and child care; and environmental impacts and sustainability. Students will better understand how Native Americans live in the Bolton community, exploring their history through culturally-relevant tours and discussions.

"Heifer International's Heifer Ranch Program in Perryville, Ark.": Oxford College students will journey to a 1,200-acre ranch filled with gardens and livestock, including water buffalo, camels, goats, pigs, and llamas — to participate in an immersive, interactive program that promotes sustainable solutions to global hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.

"Community Service/Cultural Immersion Opportunities around Charleston, S.C.": Oxford College students will engage in service opportunities that focus upon access to quality food and health care within inner Charleston and work with the non-profit Rural Mission to repair and enhance housing for Gullah residents in area beach/island communities.

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