Austin, TX

Mar 3rd, 2018 to Mar 10th, 2018
Cost: $900.00 Partner Organization(s): FrontSteps, Central Texas Food Bank, Project Transitions Service Type: Hunger Relief and Homelessness Language(s): N/A Number of Participants: 8

Trip Logistics & Participant Requirements:

We will be staying in Hostel International Austin, a high-end hostel in Austin’s Riverside community. Some amenities include free wifi, free breakfast and a breathtaking view of Lady Bird Lake.

We will be driving up as a group to DC and flying from there on Saturday March 3. We will be returning to Charlottesville on the evening of Saturday, March 10. We plan to utilize public transportations and ride-sharing services to navigate the city.

Participants should come into this trip with an open mind and a willingness to learn about complex issues that affect many people in our nation. There will be a focus on personal interactions and embracing new experiences. Also, your site leaders will be goofy as HAIL. Be prepared to get funky.

 

Service Activities:

In Austin, we will work with a range of organizations seeking to alleviate housing insecurity and hunger in Austin. We’ll volunteer at the Central Austin Food Bank to get an inside glimpse at the scope of hunger insecurity in Austin. Next, we’ll assist the Front Steps homeless shelter in Austin with a range of activities including staffing the front desk, helping residents with computer skills, and assisting staff members in whatever capacity they need us. We’ll then visit Project Transitions, an organization that provides transitional housing to victims of HIV/AIDS. Our roles there will be dependant on our site partners’ needs: past projects have included mending fences, garden upkeep, and

 

Regional Background:

Austin is best known for its live music and incredible food scene. It is located in the heart of Texas with a population close to 900,000. Austin is home to the University of Texas and filled with parks, lakes, concerts, and tons of outdoor activities.

 

Community Background:

Austin faces several issues in regards to hunger and homelessness. Hunger and homelessness are interrelated issues that must be considered holistically. We want to understand how these issues intersect, and also how organizations can most effectively provide aid throughout Austin.

This trip is centered on service learning, so we will not solely be volunteering, but also learning about Austin: the history of the city, the issues it faces and what can be done to effectively combat them. We will have group discussions to reflect on our work each day, how it affects us, and what we can do when we are back in Charlottesville. Our aim while in Austin is to be as helpful as possible at each site, to meet the needs of the different organizations where we will be working, and to understand the needs of Austin.

 

Recreational Activities:

The city of Austin has a lot to offer, and the activities we choose will largely be dependent upon group consensus. Options for activities include: hiking, visiting a modern art museum, walking around the downtown area, eating delicious food (especially BBQ), touring a graffiti park, exploring the UT Austin campus, and many more. Austin is an up-and-coming city full of awesome events and we want to make sure the group gets to decide which parts it wants to see. Participants can expect to spend lots of time outside in the beautiful spring weather.

 

About the Site Leaders:

Jack is a second-year Government major from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is often mistaken for comedian Bo Burnham or the son of former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, whom he once beat in an arm-wrestling match. Jack loves rap music and good pasta, and expects participants to devise creative combinations of the two. One time at a shady buffet, Jack ate sixteen pieces of alfredo pizza, which ranks as his highest accomplishment to date. Jack enjoys watching stupid videos on YouTube, berating Nathan for everything he does, and being a general nuisance.

Nathan is a second year Politics and Economics major. He hails from the mysterious land of Little Rock, Arkansas, so he doesn’t wear shoes and rode his horse to school back home. He went on a trip to Guatemala with ASB last year, and he is excited to explore Austin and the new issues of homelessness and food insecurity it presents. His favorite part about the trip last year was how close everyone became as the trip went on, and he hopes to bring that bonding atmosphere down to Texas. Nathan loves all sports, ice cream, and debating the relative merits of The Office v. Parks and Rec.

 

Testimonials:

I’ll be honest: at first, I was skeptical of service trips and how beneficial they truly are. But my experience in Austin showed me that our service makes a true impact, and gives participants a service-oriented mindset that lasts long after their trip concludes. I know my incredible ASB experience will stick with me for the rest of my life. –Jack

The idea of service learning seemed really strange and abstract before my trip last year, but I really came to appreciate the impact that a trip can have far beyond the week-long stay. By prioritizing personal connections and the applying lessons I learned in other places I go, I found that I came back to Charlottesville with a much better perspective of both my own personal world and the rest of the world that I have yet to explore. — Nathan