Volunteer Emory is excited to offer a diversity of alternative Spring Break opportunities this year. As Volunteer Emory aims to help get students out of the "Emory Bubble", the Volunteer Emory staff has been working diligently to create new opportunities for Emory students to explore social justice in various frameworks of understanding. Participation is NOT on a first come, first serve basis. Each application is reviewed for clarity and demonstration of a committment to service. The price for trips will be available when the applications go live.
This trip will be centered around the theme of community building/home security. Our destination will be Kissimmee, Florida. In order to provide participants with a holistic understanding of the trip’s overarching theme, it will be broken down into sub-themes such as homelessness, domestic violence, etc. Therefore, we will be volunteering with different organizations such as Help Now of Osceola county, Habitat for Humanity, etc. The volunteer work that we will be involved in will vary day to day depending on what the community partner would like us to accomplish for them. Students will have the opportunity to not only learn about these areas of social justice, but also engage with people who work towards addressing the issues and bettering society as a whole as well as those affected by the injustice.
This trip will focus on the issues of natural disaster relief and will be located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina occurred 7 years ago, but this city is still in need and is often overlooked due to other natural disasters that have occurred more recently. However, the effects of Katrina on its people and the city have been long-lasting. We will volunteer with multiple organizations that focus on rebuilding and restoring New Orleans in various facets: construction, environmental, education and children. For the first two days, we will be doing construction and restoration with St. Paul’s Homecoming Center. Mid-week, we will be partnering with Green Light New Orleans to install free energy-saving light bulbs in nearby homes to fight the climate change and rebuild the community. In addition, we will be helping the Louisiana Boys and Girls Club to enable children affected from Katrina to realize their full potential, as well as assisting the organization facility in whatever tasks are necessary. Lastly, participants will be volunteering at the Green Project to help sort incoming donations as well as deconstructing and organizing the recycling center.
This five-day immersion will allow students to explore the issues of homelessness, hunger and poverty in metro Atlanta. We will visit agencies large shelters, such as Gateway and Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, as well as smaller agencies, such as First Step Staffing and Hope House. Visiting 1-3 different agencies daily, we will learn from community leaders who represent a wide variety of philosophies and approaches to serving the homeless in Atlanta. While providing volunteer service to these agencies, we will spend maximal time interacting with individuals and families enduring homelessness. Our goal is to reduce the distance between "us" and "them" by connecting with our homeless neighbors and hearing their stories. We will also have daily roundtable discussions and reflection sessions with nonprofit leaders, Emory Faculty and staff as well as other community members. Students will be challenged to develop ideas and action plans for supporting our community members and eventually ending homelessness in Atlanta.
In order to express solidarity with those living on the streets, we will be sacrificing some of the luxuries that we enjoy daily. We will be sleeping with blankets outside in a secure location. There will be no showers, no brushing teeth, no changing clothes. Our food budget for the week is $7. Aside from the occasional MARTA ride, we will be walking 5-10 miles to our site visits and back each day. We are by no means trying to simulate or mock the homeless experience. In living by these guidelines, we will try to begin to understand the barriers to success and the immense hardship endured by those living without a stable home."
“Running into LeaderShape people around campus is different than running into other people. It's like this feeling of, "Hey, you're family. I know you're someone that has passion, a vision, and the dedication to make this world a better place. Your energy and your integrity make me smile. I'm so happy to see you."