The ages of 18-25 are the lowest in volunteering. Yet, campus based alternative break programs continue to grow in participation numbers and in community impact. During the summer, Break Away trains the campus leadership of 100+ AB programs in a week-long experiential set up: 1/2 day doing direct service on a social issue in the community and 1/2 day in workshops learning best practices of community project organizing. This unique model builds campus and post-graduation community leaders.
Atlanta faces many of the challenges of a city which continues to grow rapidly: environmental concerns, transportation clogs, the increase of blight, health issues, the need for educational system reform, and youth violence. In each of these issues, prevention and proactive programs tend to have the best results, but reactive measures and spending are on the rise - putting young and old alike at risk in strained systems. Citizen and volunteer involvement/ownership has never been more crucial.
This microproject will support the costs involved in 60 college student leaders coming to Atlanta for a week to contribute over 900 hours of direct service as they also learn about the issues of the city. Participants will return to their campuses capable of improving/building their own AB programs for 2013-2014, having identified potential community partners in Atlanta, and having deeper education on community organizing practices around targeted social issues.
Atlanta is a compelling city in which to do alternative break work. Along with the short-term volunteer hours, the aim of this conference is to build relationships between university alternative break programs and Atlanta community organizations which will last for years with measurable impact. At the same time, we hope social issue exposure will galvanize the participants who can consider Atlanta as a place to live, work, and serve as a young professional and active citizens.