USD AWOL announces winter break service-learning destinations

Students from the University of South Dakota will assist families in need in Texas; work with conservationists and environmentalists at the Florida Everglades and help New Orleans neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Isaac and other natural disasters during winter break service-learning trips. A fourth winter break trip will also take students to serve in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, working with children in poverty.

The student-led service-learning group, Alternative Week of Off-campus Learning (AWOL), recently announced these winter break destinations. Applications are now available for students at http://orgs.usd.edu/awol/. Faculty, staff and graduate assistants interested in participating as learning partners should email karl.reasoner@usd.edu.

AWOL Honduras will construct homes and schools, mentor and tutor children, and perform basic health screenings. The AWOL Dallas group will assist Bryan's House, a non-profit organization founded in Dallas that provides medically-managed child care, respite care, and community-based support services. Participants will also mentor and teach children, collect and sort donations, complete facility maintenance, and prepare Bryan's House for its holiday fundraiser.

AWOL New Orleans will work with the Beacon of Hope Resource Center to revitalize neighborhoods and support disaster relief efforts, including urban landscaping, painting, neighborhood clean-ups and small scale construction projects. AWOL Florida Everglades will assist with environmental conservation and protection service work in parks and wildlife sanctuaries such as Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, Homestead Soup Kitchen, and John Pennekamp State Park.

Prior to traveling, AWOL volunteers receive six weeks of training and learning. AWOL provides students with educational service-learning experiences through exposure to diverse social issues. Faculty, staff and graduate assistant learning partners provide mentoring and cooperation with students to connect AWOL service to their academic goals. AWOL students and learning partners come from all USD departments and the programs are open to all volunteers. For more information, please visit www.usd.edu/engage or email engage@usd.edu. 

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