Issues|Make an Impact

2017 Spring Break Issues

Issue #1: Children's Issues and Developmental Disabilities

Work at a sleepaway camp for children and adults with special needs. Serve as camp counselors for campers with various intellectual and developmental disabilities and learn about how special needs impact the individual, their siblings, their family dynamic, and their communities. Assist the camp with facilities maintenance to get ready for additional camp sessions.

Issue #2: Refugee Resettlement

Help people whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Work with educational programs, assist at a donation center, and serve on special projects with youth. Become aware of how various cultures and subcultures are connected.

Issue #3: Poverty, Hunger, and Sustainability

Learn about the issues of hunger and poverty on a global scale. Participate in a variety of immersion activities designed to raise awareness of hunger and poverty issues. Live and work on a functional range while learning about how to live sustainably and care for the earth.

Issue #4: Cherokee Rights and Environmentalism

Learn about the customs, culture, and current social issues that the Cherokee Indian community is faced with today. Serve alongside Cherokee children and adults and experience a meaningful cultural exchange through tutoring and social interaction. Participate in service projects to protect the environment while learning about the history of local and national environmental degradation.

Issue #5: Food Insecurity

Learn about food access and distribution -- and the lack thereof in food deserts. Serve within a small community that could traditionally be labeled a food desert and help provide access to healthy foods. Assist in distribution of crops throughout the city and help set up and sell food. Work onsite a large urban farm performing tasks such as weeding, soil transportation, and tilling.

Issue #6: Homelessness and Drug Addiction

Learn about homelessness, poverty, and drug addiction in a local community. Spend time meeting the needs of the homeless and of individuals who are in an addiction recovery program, which helps foster self-sufficiency. Prepare food, serve meals, work alongside program participants, sort food donations, and hear from different speakers and individuals served by the nonprofit.

Issue #7: Disaster Relief

Catastrophic flooding hit numerous locations in the US earlier this year, displacing thousands of residents. Students will help people recover in the wake of these historic floods by directly repairing damaged homes and working with local organizations (such as food banks and afterschool programs) to meet the increased needs of constituents.

Issue #8: Public Health and Environmental Justice

Protect and learn about the health and quality of life in a community which has been severely impacted by irresponsible coal mining practices. Work on a variety of environmental justice issues through hands-on service and community engagement. Students will also assist in public outreach and general awareness of the issue within the affected community.

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Check out some of our previous issues!

2016 Spring Break Issues

Issue #1: Children's Issues/Racism

Participate in programs designed to empower youth and conquer the issues of racism and poverty. Become an advocate for civil rights and social equality, while learning about the civil rights movement and racism in today’s society.

Issue #2: Urban Poverty

Learn about the issues of urban education, poverty, and displaced youth. Work with a non-profit organization that works to alleviate poverty and its consequences in an urban setting. Build relationships with at-risk individuals through personal interaction and learn about the root causes of poverty and the effects of poverty on all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Issue #3: Serving Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Assist those with developmental disabilities by helping them complete tasks and reach their maximum potential while supporting their independence and self-determination. Learn about the new therapies and techniques that improve standard of living. Learn about the issues facing developmental disabilities while interacting with the residents and community members.

Issue #4: Race, Culture, and Society

Work with an organization dedicated to fighting stereotypes about race and culture, and learn about different cultures and how the issues of race, culture, and society are interconnected. Participate in service tasks with a culturally-based organization, including sustainable farming and mentoring at-risk youth. Learn how you can be an advocate for greater cultural and racial sensitivity in your community. Focus is on the Chicano/ Latino and Native American groups.

Issue #5: Refugee Resettlement

Help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Students will work with educational programs, assist at the donation center. and work on special projects with youth after school program, or community gardens. Through their experiences working with this social justice issue, students will become aware of how various subcultures are connected.

Issue #6: Housing and Health Care/Immigration

Work with a non-profit that serves the immigrant population living in poverty along the U.S. border with Mexico. Service includes construction of houses and opportunities to volunteer at a local clinic.

Issue #7: Environmental Stewardship/Animal Rights

Work with several non-profit organizations to understand the importance of caring for the environment. Service will include planting trees and landscaping, improving forest trails, and removing invasive species. Additional volunteer work will involve the related issue of animal rights and will include volunteering with an organization dedicated to rescuing and aiding abandoned and homeless animals.

Issue #8: Poverty and Hunger/Environmental Sustainability

Learn about the issues of hunger and poverty on a global scale. Participate in a variety of immersion activities designed to raise awareness of hunger and poverty issues. Live and work on a functional ranch, while learning about how to live sustainably and care for the earth.

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2015 Fall Break Issues

Issue #1: Children and with Life-Threatening Illnesses

Work with an organization that provides kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families a memorable, magical, and weeklong vacation that is completely free. The organization has many activities available that allow students to participate in strong, direct service: serving or driving golf carts to deliver breakfast, lunch, dinner, and ice cream; greeting families; monitoring play areas and playing with the kids; assisting with makeovers, which includes face-painting and airbrush tattoos; operating rides; assisting with arts and crafts; playing a life-size version of Candy Land; and behind-the-scenes work like photography, light cleaning, and decoration.

Issue #2: Environmental Stewardship

Work with one of the leading nature conservation organizations in Florida. The carefully restored habitats found at the preserve are disappearing fast from many Florida islands, and a number of endangered plants and animals call this special place home – including rare loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles. Thus, in order for students to come away with an appreciation that wild lands need care, service would include various environmental projects. This includes trimming public use trails throughout the preserve, cleaning up the lagoon and the ocean side, and working on restoration irrigation take down and recycling.

Issue #3: Homelessness and Poverty

Work with a multifaceted agency that feeds, shelters, and arranges for each homeless person to receive the necessary access to social and non-compulsory religious services to enable a return to a self-reliant lifestyle. For the small percentage of people incapable of living independent lives, the organization provides a caring and supportive environment for their long-term residency. While on the alternative break, service will be geared towards students’ interests and studies. Some volunteer opportunities may include medical triage, homeless outreach, case management, thrift shop working, and providing meals.

Issue #4: Human Trafficking

Work with a statewide, non-profit, human services agency dedicated to helping all people in need regardless of religious affiliation, age or national origin. While on the Alternative Break, students will volunteer in daily shelter activities including transporting clients to medical appointments, teaching English to refugees, playing with pets with the refugees, having lunch with the elderly, helping newcomers adjust to living in a new culture, finding employment opportunities for refugees, and case management for homeless families.

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2015 Spring Break Issues

Issue #1: Children and Disabilities

Work with an organization that hosts camping programs for children and adults with special health care needs. Students will serve as camp counselors for the week-long service trip. They will be trained on-site by experienced staff allowing the students to build close relationships to the children. The organization hopes students will find ways to look past disabilities and learn to connect with people who have special needs with life, laughter, and love.

Issue #2: Hunger and Homelessness

Work with an organization that helps prevent homelessness and hunger in the area. Every day they serve hundreds of meals to the homeless and also provide services such as vocational training. Students will help the organization with their daily lunch and dinner preparation and attend a few sessions run by the organization such as computer training. The students will also be given time to interact with the homeless community and possibly host an event preceding or following dinner. One day the students will volunteer with another organization to gain another perspective on how the same issue is addressed by another organization in the area.

Issue #3:Civil Rights

This community partner works to promote civil rights and social equality while combating issues of racism and poverty. The organization uses programs and services to inspire children of the next generation to reach their fullest potential. Students will work alongside with the youth to talk about issues of race and discrimination. They will serve as mentors for the week but also learn about the city’s history of racial inequality and its impact on the present day state of the city.

Issue #4: Urban Poverty & Urban Education

The organization offers programs and opportunities for students and others to learn about their role in society and the importance of service. They have established alternative break programs and weekend sessions where people can discover their passion and learn ways to translate that into action. Students will be doing a variety of service tasks including food preparation at homeless shelters, crafts with children, cleaning and organizing toy closets, and tutoring. The community partner educates the students on the root causes of poverty and the effects of poverty on all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Issue #5: Environmental & Native American Rights

The organization teaches students about the wilderness and the importance of maintaining a healthy environment. The students will be removing invasive species, planting native grasses, and cleaning up campsites and will also help with the Cherokee by tutoring the youth and assisting Cherokee seniors. During the week, the students stay on the farm and learn about organic farming, simple living, and environmental sustainability.

Issue #6: Health and Blindness

Work with an organization that serves the visually impaired population. They provide many services including vocational training, job placement, and college preparation. Students will help with beatification projects around campus throughout the day. At night students will be able to meet clients and will interact with them through shopping, playing games, rock climbing, running, etc. Students will also get a better understanding of the blind population and become more comfortable with assisting the visual paired people in their own community.

Issue #7: Immigration and Border Issues

Work with a community-based union that organizes for dignity and human rights in the colonias and low-income neighborhoods of the area. Students will form relationships with an immigrant community and become acquainted with the border and individual experiences in the migratory process. They will learn about immigration laws and legislation that affect relations between the US and Mexico. They will also work alongside individuals in community development efforts, which focus on the lives of undocumented workers.

Issue #8: Hunger and Poverty

The community partner empowers families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity through sustainable agriculture and commerce. Students will learn about the issues of hunger and poverty on a global scale. They will participate in a variety of immersion activities designed to raise awareness of hunger and poverty issues. By living and working on a functional ranch, students will learn about how to live sustainably and care for the earth.

Issue #9: Developmental Disabilities

The organization offers a community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities, many of whom are also physically challenged. Students will assist those with developmental disabilities by helping them complete tasks and reach their maximum potential while supporting their independence and self-determination. They will learn about the issues facing individuals with developmental disabilities through firsthand social interaction, and discover how new therapies and techniques are being used to increase their standard of living.

Issue #10: Domestic Violence

This community partner envisions a community where individuals live free from violence and the threat of violence. Their mission is to end violence, both structural and interpersonal, in the lives of women and children. While working with the organization, students will learn about a community characterized by equality between men and women and social and economic justice. They will work with women and children that have been affected by domestic violence and sexual assault by helping to provide opportunities for meaningful participation, personal growth, and creative expression.

Issue #11: HIV/AIDS and LGBT

The mission of the organization is to fight to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected. Students will learn about the prevention, care, and advocacy of HIV/AIDS among the LGBT community. They will become allies for the LGBT community, by developing meaningful relationships, raising awareness, and uplifting the lives of all affected.

Issue #12:Racial and Ethnic Disparities/Culture

The community partner is a non-profit organization engaging the area's youth, elders, and communities in a comprehensive, holistic and cultural approach. Students will work with this organization dedicated to fighting stereotypes about race and culture, and learn about different cultures and how the issues of race, culture, and society are interconnected. They will participate in service tasks and learn how you can be an advocate for greater cultural and racial sensitivity in your community.

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2014 Spring Break Issues

Issue #1: Cherokee Rights/Environmental Awareness
Family: Cultural

Learn about the customs, culture and current social issues that the Native American community faces today. Serve alongside Native American children and adults and experience a meaningful cultural exchange through tutoring and social interaction. Participate in service projects to protect the environment while learning about the history of environmental degredation and how to live sustainably .

Issue #2: Children's Issues/Racism
Family: Human Rights

Participate in programs designed to empower youth and conquer the issues of racism and poverty. Become an advocate for civil rights and social equality while learning about racism in today's society.

Issue #3:Poverty/Neighborhood Revitalization
Family: Poverty

Learn about the issue of poverty in an urban community during a depressed economy. Participate in local initiatives designed to not only minimize the effects of poverty but also to sustainably improve the local economy. These initiatives include education, vocational training and neighborhood beautification

Issue #4: Serving Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Family: Health

Assist those with developmental disabilities by helping them complete tasks and reach their maximum potential while supporting their independence and self determination.learn about the issues facing individuals with developmental disabilities through firsthand social interaction, and discover how new therapies and techniques are being used to increase their standard of living

Issue #5: LGBTQ Rights and Suicide
Family: Human Rights

Learn about the issue of suicide among LGBTQ youth. Assist in nationwide efforts to prevent suicide among lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender youth. Become an ally for the LGBTQ community, while helping to reduce the stigma and save lives.

Issue #6: Refugee Resettlement
Family: Human Rights

Learn about issues facing newly arriving refugees in their transition into the U.S. Experience different cultures by interacting with refugees and hearing about their incredible journeys. Work in literacy and ESL classes, computer labs and youth programs.

Issue #7: Poverty and Hunger
Family: Poverty

Learn about the issues of hunger and poverty on a global scale. Participate in a variety of immersion activities designed to raise awareness of hunger and poverty issues. Live and work on a functional ranch, while learning about how to live sustainably and care for the earth.

Issue #8: Immigration Border, Issues, and US/Mexico relations
Family: Cultural

Form relationships with an immigrant community and become acquainted with the border and individual experiences in the migratory process. Learn about immigration laws and legislation that affect relations between the US and Mexico. Work alongside individuals in community development efforts which focus on the lives of undocumented workers.

Issue #9: Children's Issues/Developmental Disabilities
Family: Health

Work at a sleep away camp for children with special needs. Serve as camp counselors for campers with various developmental disabilities, and learn about how special needs impact the individual, their siblings, their whole families, and their whole communities. Assist the camp with facilities maintenance to get ready for summer camp.

Issue #10: Urban Poverty
Family: Poverty

Learn about the issues of urban education, poverty, and displaced youth. Work with various organizations that work to alleviate poverty and it's consequences in an urban setting. Build relationships with at-risk individuals through personal interaction.

Issue #11: Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation
Family: Health

Work on a farm alongside individuals recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. Assist in various tasks on the farm and learn about the causes and solutions to addiction, and how rehabilitation programs can lead to recovery and a self-sufficient life.

Issue #12:Race,Culture,and Society
Family: Culture


Work with an organization dedicated to fighting stereotypes about race and culture, and learn about different cultures and how the issues of race, culture, and society are interconnected. Participate in service tasks with a culturally-based organization, and learn how you can be an advocate for greater cultural and racial sensitivity in your community.

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2013 Fall Break Issues

Issue # 1: Environmentalism

The Everglades International Hostel is located in Florida City. A non-profit organization with 16 years of experience working with Breakaway groups across the country, EIH promotes active citizenship through partnership with a range of local governmental agencies and non-profit organizations that offer service projects addressing pressing environmental problems. Our community partners this coming fall break include the Everglades National Park and the Biscayne National Park, where we are proposed to work for three full days on invasive species removal, habitat restoration, trail maintenance, and mangrove/beach cleaning. Meanwhile, educational eco-tours will provide insights into the value of South Florida’s unique ecosystems, why ecologic security sustains development of human society in a larger context of sustainable development, and how such concept became a consensus over decades of history that saw the growth of Greater Miami. Alternative options for unexpected weather conditions include wildlife rehabilitation at Everglades Outpost Wildlife Rescue and tutoring/mentoring the children of migrant workers at COFFO. .

Issue # 2: Women's issues

Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG) is a nationwide organization focused on promoting the importance for women to engage in civic responsibility and leadership. Founded in Boston, MA, SWSG in the last ten years has expanded to Pittsburg in 2006, South Florida in 2009, and most recently Israel in 2010. SWSG has both a community and national base. As peer mentors try to encourage young women to make lifelong academic and career goals at the local level while trying to grow a nationwide, and even possible international, social movement promoting gender equality. UMAB participants this fall will learn first-hand about the mentoring process and help the girls with weekend activities, including a college campus visit.

Issue # 3: Animal Rights

Everglades Outpost Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of both native and exotic wildlife. Everglades Outpost feeds, shelters, and nurtures their animals. Due to residential development, Everglades Outpost receives calls daily for rescues in areas that are caught in the midst of this massive development. Native or indigenous species are relocated upon their recovery to good health. Everglades outpost also provides educational opportunities for schools, and local civic groups with self guided tours, chances to interact with various reptiles, and the chance to “adopt” or support an individual animal for a year.

Issue # 4: Poverty and Homelessness

Homeless Voice is a multifaceted organization that serves the South Florida homeless community. The organization helps more than 500 homeless daily either housing or feeding as well as finding a job for them. Aside from serving the South Florida community, homeless voice educates the community with their own newspaper and outreach programs. Their shelter provides to anyone who is homeless and needs a safe haven. They have a team of doctors, psychologists, and social workers to provide any service for those in need.

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