The Education and Policy trip centers on the intersections between education, poverty, and race, exploring the ways in which policies and organizations can effectively remedy injustices. Participants will engage in thoughtful exploration of the school system and its unequal effects on different populations. We will have an opportunity to work with organizations serving youth who seek to break the School to Prison Pipeline and be able to work directly in schools. In addition, we will work with organizations who serve the needs of adults failed by the education system, engaging the question of choices available for adults who do not complete their education and/or wish to return to the education system. Ultimately, through direct service and conversations with such youth, adults, and service organizations, participants will gain a nuanced perspective on the successes and failures of education, choice availability, and life-long effects.
The Charleston, WV trip offers participating students the opportunity to engage in hands-on service work with members of the Charleston community. This trip works primarily with the Kanawha County Agricultural Extension Agent on projects surrounding urban farming and nutrition.Particular emphasis will be placed on learning about the area's rich and complex coal mining history as well as nutritional issues in Charleston while working with youth populations in settings such as child care centers and community gardens. Students will hear from local experts with varying opinions on questions such as: What are the benefits of coal mining? What are the environmental costs of mining? Students will need to be prepared to hear competing viewpoints, to have their assumptions challenged, and to learn about an area of the United States with a unique and important cultural heritage.
The rich history of Greensboro’s role in the civil rights movement provides a backdrop for the city’s evolution into the “Global Gate City:” a center for immigrant and refugee resettlement. Participants will engage with clientele of all ages and walks of life throughout the week by supporting community organizations. Through hands-on experiences, students will engage with local community members from Asia and the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe that have made a home in Greensboro. Students will also work alongside community members who are involved in non-profit work, legal resources, and policy-making. In conjunction with volunteering at sites that support refugee and immigrant populations, Greensboro participants have the opportunity to explore the history of the city by visiting the International Civil Rights Center and Museum and exploring the trails of the Underground Railroad. Students also get to experience lively discussions and enriching activities while staying together at a local church.
Volunteer Venture: Lexington lays the foundation for a deeper understanding of the issues inherent to Rockbridge County. Students work in cooperation with the Washington & Lee Habitat for Humanity student chapter and the Rockbridge County Habitat for Humanity national chapter. Students will also prepare and deliver nutritious meals to local agencies through the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee.
Volunteer Venture Richmond focuses on education and healthcare in relation to poverty. Its service will be a combination of childcare-, health-, and education-centered sites, where participants will have the opportunity to engage with the community and children through recreational activities and guided projects. Discussion during the week will include topics such as the nature of poverty and factors that influence health and education. In addition, Volunteer Venture Richmond hopes to open a dialogue on the effects of poverty on children and how positive learning environments can be encouraged by individual service and collaborative relationships. From having a dinner in the historic Fan District to enjoying an afternoon relaxing on the James River, participants will also get to experience a slice of Richmond, the state’s capitol!
Volunteer Venture: Roanoke focuses on issues of urban poverty. Students work with Total Action Against Poverty (TAP). TAP provides education, training, and life opportunities to enable low-income individuals and families to become self-reliant. TAP "helps those disenfranchised from society discover the American Dream."
The Washington, DC, Volunteer Venture trip is unique for its placement in our nation's capital and thus has a strong focus on the relationship of public policy and urban poverty. The trip's focus is on humanizing the faces of homelessness, hunger, and poverty in an urban setting, goals supported by work with organizations such as the National Coalition for the Homeless, DC Central Kitchen, and Food and Friends. These excursions provide hands-on volunteer experience and bring students into direct contact with both impoverished persons and those who work alongside them to alleviate hunger and homelessness.