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Kids and Education

New Orleans, LA

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In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, flooding 80 percent of the city and trapping thousands of families. Nearly 15 years later, New Orleans is still suffering from its aftermath. In order to help empower low-income children, the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana provides a safe place to learn and grow into successful individuals. Participants will get to interact with youth in their after school program. Participants will also work with Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, which is a program of FirstLine schools. By integrating cooking, gardening, and community into the school curriculum, children learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and an appreciation for their environment. Additionally, some time will be spent at Grow Dat Youth Farm, a farm designed to help youth engage in the community through urban farming, and Second Harvest Food Bank, where many of the hot meals go to the youth at the Boys and Girls Club.

Site Leaders: Jason Scott and Neeti Gandra
Site Cost: $268

Savannah, GA

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Those familiar with Savannah associate the historic city with Spanish moss, cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and antebellum architecture. Savannah is renowned for its Southern grandeur, but drive past the picturesque neighborhoods and you’ll soon encounter shocking impoverishment. 1 in 4 Savannah residents live in poverty, and the rate is even higher among children at over 40%. Participants on this site will engage in service with underprivileged Georgia youth by volunteering at a local middle school through Operation Beacon. They’ll also serve food with Kids Cafe, a Second Harvest program which provides at-risk children with a nutritious evening meal in a safe environment. Participants will educate themselves on the nature of regional poverty through work with Step Up, Savannah and will volunteer at Park Place Outreach, which supports youth development provides services for at-risk youth. Participants will learn throughout the week different approaches to the task of breaking a cycle of poverty by empowering the young.

Site Leaders: Clara Leonard and Kathy Qian
Site Cost: $258

Jackson, MS

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In Mississippi, a child is abused or neglected every hour. Participants on this site will work with Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi and Operation Shoestring. Founded in 1896 as a traditional orphanage, Methodist Children’s Homes now ensures that children in the foster care system can grow up in a safe home. Each morning, participants will help beautify their 168-acre campus to make sure the children have the best facilities possible. In the afternoons, participants will volunteer at Operation Shoestring, an after-school program for local public school students. Participants will plan and run a Science Week, teaching middle school students about science through interactive experiments and activities.

Site Leaders: Emma Willey and Anish Raman
Site Cost: $258

Louisville, KY

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Located just outside of Louisville, Sunrise Children’s Center has been serving the community of Elizabethtown since 1869. Providing a loving home to the city’s most vulnerable children, this organization’s therapy center offers support for abused and neglected foster care kids. On site, participants will support youth by assisting in classrooms, joining them in gym periods, and doing house chores together. Participants will have frequent face-to-face interaction with the kids, and due to their trauma, this site can be very emotionally taxing. Each evening, the group will reflect on the foster care system and the inequalities these children face from a very young age.

**TRIGGER WARNING** This site may contain content that is triggering to those who have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Please reach out to a board member with questions and concerns.

Site Leaders: Kat Massengale and Nicole Eiland
Site Cost: $263

Pittsburgh, PA

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In order to combat the rise of the female population in juvenile delinquent centers, Gwen’s Girls provides preventative services to girls in the Pittsburgh area. Their approach is gender-specific, targeting issues that are unique to women and girls, in order to help prevent future incarceration. Participants will work with Gwen’s Girls work towards empowering girls with effective cognitive, behavioral and interpersonal coping skills. Throughout the week participants will aid Gwen’s Girls by interacting with girls in the after-school program, cleaning, decorating, and spearheading new programs. The group will also work with Dress for Success, a company that provides women with professional clothing and job support. Lastly, the week will finish up with service at Girls Hope, which is an organization with the goal of providing a supportive environment for young women to break the cycle of abuse. At Girls Hope, the participants will engage in conversations with the girls while helping with needed tasks. By the end of the week, participants will have an enriched understanding of the obstacles and joys that many girls and women face throughout their lives.

Site Leaders: Savannah Larkin and Jay Patel
Site Cost: $263

Huntsville, AL

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Destination: Huntsville! Although the original capital of Alabama boasts some of the highest per capita incomes in the state, stubborn pockets of poverty remain. Lincoln Village Ministry is a faith-based organization founded to break the cycle of poverty and do whatever it takes for one generation to make it into the middle class. Volunteers renovate mill houses, interact with children, distribute food, and more. During your time at Lincoln Village, you will hear from many of its leaders about their faith and how it impacts their empowering work. Participants on this site will be able to carry out the ministry’s mission of giving the gift of hope to this tight-knit community and will grow to understand how intentional community development impacts a neighborhood. Be prepared to do everything from working with kids to painting and demolition!

Site Leaders: Kelly McHale and Kayla Ortiz
Site Cost: $248