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Wesleyan's Alternative Break Program

The alternative break program at Virginia Wesleyan is called Imagine for "imagine what you could do in a community where people can only say "thank you"". 1999 was the first year of the student-led program under the auspices of the Office of Community Service. Up to three groups of 12 each are selected to participate each year. Sites are announced in the fall.

Past teams have traveled as near as Northern Virginia to work with the homeless and as far as Mississippi to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. International sites have included the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

What is an Alternative Break?

An alternative break program places teams of students in communities to engage in service and experiential learning during their summer, fall, winter or spring breaks. Students perform short-term projects for community agencies and learn about issues such as literacy, poverty, racism, hunger, homelessness and the environment. The objectives of an alternative break program are to involve students in community-based service projects and to give students opportunities to learn about the problems faced by members of communities with whom they otherwise may have had little or no direct contact. Communities benefit from the tangible work completed, while participants gain a broader understanding of the world around them. Many participants have hailed the experience as fundamentally life-changing and the best week they've ever had.

Deadlines

Applications with $50 deposit is due in September.

Requirements

  • Participate in pre-trip meetings.
  • Perform daily service as agreed upon.
  • Participate in reflections.
  • Keep a daily journal to turn in after trip.
  • Participate in post-trip meeting.
  • Complete evaluation form.

Cost

Domestic trips may cost as little as $75, whereas international trips will cost as much as $2500, which includes transportation, housing, and meals. Scholarships are available.

2007-08 Site Leaders

Nathanael Swann, ndswann@vwc.edu

Reactions

'"It was an amazing bonding experience. I learned a lot about leadership and teamwork from the others on the trip."
-Member Team Costa Rica

"I thought it was amazing that you shared something that the locals understood when you left. It was really cool to know that you were helping the turtles and the locals."
-Member Team Costa Rica

"The most meaningful experience was the night ... we heard Connie tell her story about how she survived the hurricane." -Member Team Pearlington

"We had the opportunity to closely interact with a group of people we worked for. They constantly showed there appreciation to us."
-Member Team Pearlington

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