Mountaintop Removal Spring Break 2014

For the fifth year in a row Drew students traveled to Harlan, Kentucky for a week-long Spring Break trip. Lead this year by Professor Summer Harrison and Colleen Freund, the goal of the trip was to deepen student’s understanding of Environmental Justice.  On the trip students learned about mountaintop removal and the ecological, cultural and economic significance of mining in local communities.  The trip also included a civic engagement/community service component.

Activities included:

  • Service work planting trees on an abandoned strip mine site in Harlan County (Dollar Branch) and home weatherization work with Harlan Community Action Agency
  • A visit to a mountaintop removal site
  • Lectures on Appalachia and mountaintop removal hiking at Blanton Forest
  • A visit to the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum and Thrift Shop
  • Round table discussion with coalfield residents (KFTC, SAMS, RRENEW) and speakers.
  • Viewing the 1976 Academy-award wining documentary on the United Mine Workers strike in Harlan
  • Live music and dancing at the Campbell Branch Community Center and the Summit City Lounge in Whitesburg

Alternative Winter Break to Washington, DC

Alternate Winter Break 2014 to DC was a great success this year.  Through the combined efforts of everyone on the trip and the DC organizations we partnered with Drew students who were able to help over 22,400 people by serving them meals, organizing their home, and in some cases, simply being a friend.

This year’s activities included:

  • Serving in soup kitchensDC Winter Break Group in front of White House
  • Hearing first-hand stories of homeless and formerly homeless people
  • Cleaning senior citizens’ apartments
  • Packaging food to be delivered to people suffering from illness and disease
  • Sorting furniture donations for recovering homeless citizens to furnish their new homes and apartments

In January of 2014, forty-three Drew students stayed at Hosteling International on K Street in Washington, DC and worked with the organization So Others May Eat. S.O.M.E. has been serving the homeless and poor in Washington DC for 40 years. The provide daily meals and programs that break the cycle of homelessness The group also helped out at the  DC Central Kitchen, Thrive DC, Food and Friends, and Capital Area Food Bank.

Within only one week, they were able to gain a better hands-on understanding of the problems facing these social groups. Many stories were shared that made it apparent that these crises can affect anybody, from any background, at any time. The Alternate Winter Break focuses on homelessness and poverty.

“Sandy Relief & Restore the Shore”

Drew students and volunteers dedicated their time to help “restore the shore” at the Tom’s River New Jersey area.

Volunteers helped with a variety of projects:

  • Mucking/gutting outs, with houses still in need of this dire help
  • Painting and rebuilding  assistance
  • Environmental projects such as dune restoration and rebuilding boardwalks
  • Assisting at food banks and donation centers
  • Working with kids in after-school programs

This program was in association with Community Collaborations International (CCI).

United Way Alternative Spring Break

Education is the key focus of United Way Alternative Spring Break in Newark, New Jersey. The lack of resources, funding, and excellent teachers for children in Newark has contributed to the poor quality education these youth receive. With United Way of Northern New Jersey’s partnership with United Way of Essex and West Hudson and the Boys & Girls Club, they are making it possible to give tutors, mentors and support to the children who need it the most.

Did you know that 1 in 3 children living in Newark, NJ live in poverty? And that poverty influences nearly every aspect of a child’s well-being, including academic success?

As a participant in United Way Alternative Spring Break, you will work directly with children at the Boys & Girls Club in Newark by developing and implementing a summer camp style curriculum. Additionally, you will work with Boys & Girls Club staff to increase the impact of their programs and the facility.

Check out this newsletter story to learn more about what students have done

For more information about this exciting opportunity, please call United Way’s Elizabeth Rodriguez at 973.746.4040, x201 or email elizabeth.rodriguez@unitedwaynnj.org

To receive more information about United Way’s Alternative Spring Break, please visit these websites:

http://www.firstgiving.com/UWNNJ 

http://www.unitedwaynnj.org/volunteer/alternativesb.php

https://www.facebook.com/ASB.NJ