In May, 12 young leaders from Kirtland Community College (MI) Alternative Breaks (AB) program serve with Harvest Farm in Wellington, Colorado. Harvest Farm offers a long-term rehabilitative work-therapy program for men who are combating substance abuse. In addition to providing educational and vocational resources to their residents through their on-site Literacy and Education Center, Harvest Farm also coordinates a Pizza Farm for local schools, educating K-12 on healthy food choices.
Disconnection from society and relationships intensifies patters of addiction. Harvest Farm is a farm and rehabilitation center for 72 men determined to break cycles of addiction and poverty. Along with work therapy and a literacy center, the Farm allows men to pursue academic and vocational studies and relational and life skill courses such as anger management and budgeting. These skills are built as the men work side by side with volunteer groups and give educational tours at the Pizza Farm.
Harvest Farm offers alternative breakers the chance to build relationships and work with farm beneficiaries in agriculture, maintenance, and kitchen work as they take part in a program designed to help men gain the skills, stability, and self-esteem necessary to become productive, self-sufficient members of society. Kirtland Community College, in rural Michigan, will offer a unique opportunity for student leaders to experience this educational rehabilitative model and return as advocate/allies.
Kirtland's AB program provides students opportunities to learn about social issues through direct service work with community partners. The socioeconomic status of surrounding counties cause these catalyst opportunities for students to travel and serve to be rare. Long-term impact includes capacity building of community partner, experiential education of alternative breakers (through pre-trip education and post-trip community work), and mentoring relationships.