Who We Are
Alternative Breaks (AB) is a program within the Center for Community Engagement that sends small groups of UT students to outside communities around the United States to help individuals grow as leaders and learn about social justice issues through immersive service experience. Alternative Breaks is great for students who are passionate about social justice looking to spend their holiday break on a productive and interactive service-learning experience.
What We’re Fundraising For
We are fundraising for our 2020 winter break trip and our 2021 trips.
The winter break trip sends students to Florida to focus on climate change. The spring break trips send students to New Orleans to examine Systemic Racism and South Texas to focus on Immigration Rights and Policy. The summer break trip sends students to Puerto Rico to focus on Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery.
Participants will engage with the community that they are visiting by working with community leaders on service projects to learn more about the culture of the city they are visiting along with any social justice issues it faces. AB participants will also get the opportunity to learn of and enjoy the rich culture of the cities they are visiting and have the opportunity to network and bond with new friends.
Donations will fund our trips in the following ways: food, transportation, lodging, and cultural activities.
When asked why they serve and have served in the past, here are some of the responses we received from our participants:
"Participating in Alternative Breaks will allow me to not only connect with my culture and my people but to advocate for them in the United States. Since, my professional goal is to become a doctor and work in health policy. Learning about disaster relief in Puerto Rico will teach me the main issues many islanders face. As a future physician, I want to be able to help people on site when natural disasters occur. I also want to be able to advocate for people especially if their healthcare needs are not met or even ignored."
"I serve to better educate myself about the environment that is around me. I serve to enhance the lives of those in underprivileged communities. I serve to combat racial injustice and the systematic oppression of marginalized groups. I serve to set the example for my younger siblings. I cannot lounge around and wait for change to come in the near future, I have to be a part of the change that is happening now. Alternative Breaks is giving me the chance to foster growth and open mindedness within myself. We, the youth, have the power to make a difference and it starts when we take advantage of opportunities such as these."
"I serve because I believe in justice. I have made the lifelong commitment to learn more about activism and community service directly from the communities that I hope to work alongside. Service begins with passion and I am passionate about active citizenship. As humans, we are connected in very meaningful ways and it is important that we advocate for one another whole heartedly. I look forward to learning, shifting, and redefining the meaning of “service” and “volunteering” with the help of community members."
"The different aspects that went into putting this trip together really gave me an insight into both administrative and relational aspects of running a program, an experience that I could never gain outside of Alternative Breaks. The skills I learned from contacting partners in San Francisco, calculating and keeping to a budget, putting a curriculum together, and preparing students for the trip are invaluable skills that I know for a fact I will be using for the rest of my life."
"As an educator I realized how important it is for me to also learn about other oppressed, disadvantaged, and marginalized communities around me because they influence not only the students and how they learn, but also what resources are available to them, something that greatly affects all aspects of life. Through my work as both a participant and a leader of an Alternative Breaks trip, I am able to directly correlate my social justice learning experiences to the work I am doing in the field of education."
"I gained that progress cannot be made without enlightenment and vulnerability. During the Alternative Break Program in March 2018, I volunteered and served with a local nonprofit in the Rio Grande Valley located in South Texas, Proyecto Azteca. Proyecto Azteca serves the community by working with individuals who live in poverty and cannot afford a home that has electricity or running water.
The Alternative Breaks Program has influenced me by encouraging me to be courageous, embrace brave spaces, and to elevate voices of those that are oppressed. My professional goal is to reform public education in the state of Texas. After this, I hope to reform public education in the national level through adaptable curriculum policies, fair distribution of funding and more brave spaces in schools."