We are amazed that every year, all year long, when college students across America choose service learning trips over visiting the beach! The idea of an alternative break has captured our hearts, and we love partnering with students who choose to spend their time this way. If you are into all that, and looking for a New Alternative to the standard service learning break, we are happy you found our website! Here’s the lowdown:
- New Alternative is a service-learning program hosted by Something New at our new site in the incredibly diverse town of Clarkston, GA, which is located just outside Atlanta.
- Over the past eight years, we’ve hosted thousands of college students from 75 universities since we first began New Alternative at our original service site in Selma, AL.
- We have also hosted a handful of families and high school students, and welcome groups outside of college to join us for a life-changing service learning experience!
- Our trips incorporate community service, education about human rights, and a lot of fun -- making for a trip that both challenges and changes each participant.
- New Alternative also exposes participants to our other exciting programs - our youth arts crew, New Expression, and our conflict reconciliation training program, New Way.
Why Clarkston?With its high population of recently resettled refugees, Clarkston, GA is a vibrant community—rich in diverse experiences, cultures, and by extension—food! Located just a few miles from downtown Atlanta, Clarkston is a small town that takes you on a trip around the world in just a few blocks. There are 15.1 million refugees in the world today, the highest number since World War II. People who become refugees come from all walks of life and from countries around the world. They have been forced to leave their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution. The residents of Clarkston are from all over -- Burma, Bhutan, Cuba, Somalia, the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and most recently from Syria. Refugees from these countries bring with them their own ways of life, as well as the incredible and difficult journeys they have endured on their journey to rebuilding their lives. The United States is one country that provides a future for refugees through resettlement. About 85% of local businesses are owned by people who came to Clarkston as refugees. Students attend schools where 60 languages are spoken and adults often work multiple minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. About 40% live below the poverty line and many adults are not able to work in the same careers they had in their home countries. Each refugee has a story of war, separation, violence and hardship and they also share a common drive to build a safe, secure, and brighter future for their children and new community. The daily demonstration of sacrifice and the warm hospitality felt among new neighbors makes Clarkston a unique and powerful place for an alternative break. Our Clarkston program focuses on education about refugee resettlement and opportunities to serve refugee youth and families. Students will learn about the humanitarian reasons for refugee resettlement and the ups and downs that come when new neighbors unite. Much like our original pilot program in Selma, this new site will also offer service projects in partnership with local organizations. Join us in Clarkston starting in 2017 to learn more about some of your newest neighbors. Contact our New Alternative Director Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information– space is limited so sign up early! Who is Alternative Break for? This program isn’t just for college students, but for individuals and groups of all ages and backgrounds. New Alternative welcomes all who are interested in this unique experience. We will customize each trip to match the needs and goals of your group. Here are some quick links and then read on below:
What do you do on an Alternative Break trip?New Alternative trips are designed with your group’s interests in mind. While no two trips are exactly alike, there are four common elements that we focus on to create a meaningful experience:
- Partner with local organizations for service projects,
- Learn about human human rights and refugee resettlement in the Atlanta area and through the United States by getting to know Clarkston and visiting local museums,
- Participate in Something New’s other programs -- our youth arts program, New Expression and our conflict reconciliation training program, New Way.
- Have fun and meet other college students through nighttime activities like trivia and karaoke!