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Spring: Baltimore, MD

Baltimore, MD is the largest independent city in America. With 620,000 residents “Charm City” is a city of neighborhoods, each expressing a new wrinkle about the people who live here.. Formerly an industrial and shipping town, Baltimore is in the middle of a renaissance, morphing into an arts and culture hub on the Chesapeake Bay. Break’rs efforts are focused on hunger & homelessness efforts, assisting local food pantries and shelters; Youth & Children, engaging with after school programs; and Environmental impact, helping to build local urban gardens and restore the beauty of city parks/green spaces . During scheduled exploration time, Break’rs will have opportunities to explore Baltimore’s many varied neighborhoods and see some of its best sights.

Cost

All Break’rs are asked to fundraise & or pay $395 per Break’r   We provide personal fundraising webpages for everyone. Cost includes the following:
    • 3x meals per day
    • Housing
    • Local transportation to and from service sites
    • Local transportation to and from local transportation hubs during arrival and departure
    • All volunteer programming & supplies
    • Team building and reflection activities
    • Opportunities to explore to nearby attractions (i.e. Baltimore Harbor, Fort McHenry, etc.)
 

Impact

Working with Break A Difference’s non-profit partners, Break’rs will focus their week of service on helping those most vulnerable; protecting the environment and growing green spaces; and helping the kids of the community learn and grow. Break’rs will assist local food pantries with packaging and providing needed groceries, work with kitchens to provide hot meals to those experiencing homelessness, and engage with shelters to provide safe spaces for many in the community. Others will work to build urban gardens, clean and grow community parks and green spaces, and support and inspire Baltimore youth through after school initiatives.

Experience

As a Break’r you can expect the following in your Alternative Break experience:
    • Leadership development activities
    • Daily small & large group reflections
    • Educational discussions on volunteer experience & connection to the bigger picture
    • Opportunity to contribute & participate in a community of Break’rs like no other
    • 1-2 excursions to explore the community and all it has to offer
    • 3 simple meals daily, including at least one hot meal per day
    • Some downtime to relax & reflect
Below you will find an overview of the schedule for this specific Break, but please know that this schedule can change as program needs and logistics change. Our teams work very hard to ensure our schedule maximizes impact with our partners and experience for our Break’rs. A more detailed schedule will be provided to each Break’r prior to arrival.

Housing

In partnership with our Break Campus Partner, the YMCA of Central MD, Break’rs will be provided with safe, modest, and affordable housing inclusive of the participation cost. Here are some specifics on the Break Campus:
    • Host Partner: YMCA of Central MD – 1609 Druid Hill Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217
    • Sleeping Quarters: Open gym w/ dedicated gender sides; setup nightly & breakdown daily
    • Bed Type: Collapsible cot; bring your own bedding
    • Showers: Gender dedicated rooms w/ stalls; available nightly after 8pm; hot water occasionally limited
    • Storage: Dedicated lockable room; access nightly after 8pm
    • Recreation Areas: Basketball Court, Lounge, Multipurpose Room
    • Wifi: Available, password upon request
    • Parking: Private parking lot for all vehicles
As part of the immersive & safe experience, Break’rs are expected to be fully present during their time in our program, including during their down time. This means means Break’rs are asked to stay on the Break Campus and not allowed to leave unless it’s part of the program. There are opportunities for Break’rs to explore freely off of the Break Campus.

Transportation

While every Break’r is responsible for their own travel to and from their designated Alternative Break (via plane, train, bus, car, etc.), we do provide all of the on-the-ground transportation during the entire week.
Arrival & Departures:
We provide dedicated shuttles to/from the following transportation hubs during dedicated days & times:
      • Airports: Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI); You may be able to find more affordable flights to/from DCA or Dulles, but your $50+ shuttles available from DCA or Dulles to/from BWI are at your own cost
      • Bus Stations: Baltimore Penn Station/Baltimore Greyhound station
      • Trains: Baltimore Penn Station
In addition to our pick-up & drop-off service, there is a gated parking lot for any drivers to park their vehicles during the entire week. Since we provide insured on-the-ground vehicles that are driven by dedicated & approved Break’rs, we do ask that drivers let us safely store their personal vehicle keys we do not allow personal vehicle use during our program.
During the Break:
We designate pre-approved Break’rs, 21yrs or older and with a valid driver’s license, to drive 7-passenger minivans when needed — these are typically university staff advisors & Team Leaders. There are times throughout this Break where participants will be guided to ride public transportation. Break’rs are expected to pay the cost of public transportation when it used for personal exploration while Break A Difference will cover the cost if it is used to volunteer.

Code of Conduct

We hold high standards for our staff, team leaders and volunteers, and expect all participants to conduct themselves in the highest degree of respect and maturity, as representatives of the program in the communities we serve. We are representing not just ourselves this week, but also our college or university and Break A Difference. As ambassadors in the community, we hold ourselves to the following standards:
      • In this community living environment, we are courteous of others’ space and possessions. In managing our own space and property, we do not take more than every other participant in the program could have.
      • We leave the space cleaner and better than how you found it.
      • We are here to serve. This includes serving our teammates and co-volunteers.
      • We do not leave personal items unattended; we make others better by not putting someone else in the position to violate our property.
      • We maintain open and honest communication with team leaders and Site Leadership Team.
      • We will bring any problems or concerns to your Site Leadership Team
For the Break’rs who will be interacting with youth, volunteers and team leaders are asked to observe the following guidelines:
      • Be respectful of youth, staff, and fellow volunteers; expect the same from them.
      • Be sensitive to diversity in both language and interaction.
      • When asked about your AB experience, speak from your own perspective. Never speak on behalf of Break A Difference, community partners or clients. Direct any media inquiries to the Site Leadership Team.
      • Agency staff is responsible for discipline of youth. If a behavior problem arises, bring it to the agency staff person’s attention. DO NOT attempt to discipline youth yourself.
      • Volunteers will NEVER be one on one with a child or youth, under any circumstance.
      • Use of locker rooms for showers while programming is in session is strictly prohibited.
      • No rough-housing. Do not permit youth to climb on you, and do not pick up or carry around young children.
      • Communication with youth through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, texting, email, or other social media and chat platforms is NOT PERMITTED during or after the program. Also, be sensitive about the photos you post to Facebook that include youth and community partners. As a rule, ask permission even before taking such photos.
Any volunteer, including Team Leaders, who violate any of these rules are at risk of being asked to end their participation in the program and immediate departure home at their own expense.
 

Gallery

They’ve lit a fire in me and there’s no telling where this is going to go from here.

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