The Eight Components
Strong Direct Service
Programs provide an opportunity for participants to engage in direct or hands-on project and activities that address unmet social needs, determined by the community. Community interaction during service projects and throughout the week is highly encouraged.
Programs encourages members to grow to become more fully engaged within their community and during their trip. Full engagement includes mental, emotional, and physical engagement of all of the participants. This policy is important to AB because issues of community impact, legality, liability, personal safety, and group cohesion are of concern when alcohol and other drugs are consumed in any reference to Alternative Breaks.
Diversity and Social Justice
Programs include participants representing the range of students present in the campus community. Coordinators recruit for, design, implement, and evaluate their program with this end in mind. Strong programs engage participants in dialogue and furthers understanding of how systems of power, privilege, and oppression relate to social issues present within communities. This deepens awareness, enables responsibility in students, encourages sustainability, and impacts service work.
Prior to departure, participants are oriented to the mission and vision of the community, community partner, and organization(s) with which they will be working.
Effective education provides facts and opinions from all perspectives on the issues, including ways that participants’ personal life choices to the social issue.
Participants are provided with adequate training in skills necessary to carry out task and projects during the trip. Ideally this training will take place prior to departure, although in some instances it may occur once at site. Examples of training include teaching basic construction, learning how to interact with children, or gaining first aid skills.
During the trip, participants are encouraged to reflect upon the experience they are having, synthesizing the direct service, education, and community interaction components. Time is set aside on trips for reflection to take place individually, and together as a group. (This is something that we will do every night as a group after a day of service and it’s honestly one of our favorite parts of the trip. Look forward to it!)
Upon returning to campus, participants transfer the lessons learned on trip by identifying local organizations for continued service, sharing experiences to raise awareness of social issues, and by joining small groups to take actions on local issues through direct service, advocacy, and/or philanthropy.