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Spring: New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, LA, ‘The Big Easy”, is a major cultural hub of the United States. Founded by French colonists and named after the Duke Of Orleans, it is the center of creole food and jazz music, home of the nation’s Mardi Gras celebration, and the focal point of American Voodoo culture. New Orleans also boasts incredible natural sites include Lake Pontchartrain and the Audubon Institute. When you are in New Orleans, Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll!) Break’rs efforts are focused on hunger & homelessness efforts, assisting local food pantries and shelters; Youth & Children, engaging with after school programs; Long term disaster relief, assisting with local clean up efforts; 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 New Orleans and see some of its best sights.

Cost

All Break’rs are asked to fundraise & or pay $495 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; assisting in local disaster clean up efforts; 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, rebuild homes and roadways, and support and inspire New Orleans 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, Project Homecoming, 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: Project Homecoming, 2221 Filmore Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122
    • Sleeping Quarters: Hostel-style dorms
    • Bed Type: bunk beds
    • Showers: Gender dedicated rooms w/ stalls
    • Storage: Lockable dorm rooms
    • Recreation Areas: Basketball Court, Lounge, Multipurpose Room, community activities
    • 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: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
      • Bus Stations: New Orleans Station
      • Trains: New Orleans 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.
 

Thank you for this unique and amazing experience. I wish it could have lasted longer.

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