Fall and winter breaks are good times to close the textbooks, relax and hit the snooze button.
Or, alternatively, they can become the perfect opportunity to travel beyond the college life bubble and serve people in communities that are experiencing hardships.
This upcoming fall and winter break, Beyond Bama, an initiative of the Center for Service and Leadership in the Division of Student Life, is offering short-term, all-inclusive, service-learning trips for University of Alabama students that will provide them with hands-on experience helping those facing literacy, poverty, hunger, homelessness and environmental challenges.
“Beyond Bama introduces students to a variety of social issues that our neighbors face each and every day,” said Courtney Thomas, director of UA’s Center for Service and Leadership. “These experiences transform students’ perspectives on the world in which they live all while giving students the skill sets to create sustainable change.”
Logan Fenhouse, a UA senior and Beyond Bama team leader, said the initiative will take three trips during fall break and four during winter. Trips for spring break will be announced later.
The deadline to register for the fall break trips has closed, but the application deadline for the winter break trips is open, closing at midnight Oct. 23.
The winter break trips, which take place Dec. 14-21, include “Give Kids the World,” in Orlando, Florida, “Care with a Conscience,” in Costa Rica, “Caribbean Causes,” in Puerto Rico, and “Four Walls for All” in Anniston.
“With ‘Give Kids the World’ we’ll be serving families facing childhood illness to help them experience a childhood that focuses on something besides their illness,” Fenhouse said. “Our team will serve food, run rides and other fun services. We’ll also be working with the Ronald McDonald House.”
Fenhouse said “Care with a Conscience,” one of the break’s two international trips, is about understanding health care in Central America, specifically Costa Rica. Beyond Bama is partnering with the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children to help promote public health education and alleviate healthcare disparities.
The second international trip during winter break is “Caribbean Causes,” which is about helping Puerto Rican communities achieve sustained disaster relief. Students will work with Community Collaborations International to help families rebuild their homes, support boys and girls programs and repair the environment devastated by Hurricane Maria.
The fourth trip is “Four Walls for All,” an in-state service trip that will address housing insecurity in Anniston. Students will partner with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes and stock Habitat’s ReStore.
Beyond Bama alternative breaks are open to all undergraduate and graduate students.
The per student cost to take part in the all-inclusive trips are:
- $525 for “Give Kids the World”
- $2,750 for “Care with a Conscience”
- $2,400 for “Caribbean Causes”
- $275 for “Four Walls for All”
To apply for the winter break trips by the Oct. 23 deadline, go to the Beyond Bama website. Check the website at the beginning of the spring semester for spring break trips.
“Beyond Bama offers a really unique opportunity to be engaged in other communities and participate in meaningful service that changes a lot of participants perspectives,” Fenhouse said. “Every single night during the trips we have a reflection session to make sense of what we’ve experienced and to be able to learn more about what those communities are facing.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.