Austin, TXMar 4th, 2017 to Mar 11th, 2017
Trip Logistics and Participant Requirements:
We’ll be driving as a group from C’ville to NOVA and staying at Megan’s house on March 3rd. Then we’ll fly out of DC to Austin. On March 11th, we’ll return to the DC area and drive back to UVA together (most likely stopping for ice cream on the way). In Austin, we’ll be staying at HI Austin, a hostel located right on Lady Bird Lake. The hostel is a short walk from the bus we’ll be taking for the week. It also offers wifi, free breakfast (pancakes!!!), and lots of fun outdoorsy activities like bike riding and paddle boarding. Participants should be ready to work hard and get dirty! We also suggest preparing yourself for a week full of obnoxious get-to-know-you games and lots of ASBonding.
We want to give our participants a better understanding of the full spectrum of issues that Austin faces, so we will be working on various sites that focus on food security and homelessness.
First, we’ll be working with the Central Texas Food Bank, both in the warehouse and out in the community. The second organization we will work with is Front Steps, a nonprofit that provides shelter for the homeless, a healthcare clinic, transitional services to help clients find housing and jobs, and case management to guide the clients through their next steps. We will assist the workers at various stations, such as the mail desk, computer lab and resource desk. Later in the week, we’ll work with Project Transitions, a nonprofit that provides clients with HIV/AIDS with transition housing. We will be helping them prepare an apartment for a new client and make dinner for the residents. Lastly, we’ll get to tour the Livestrong headquarters and learn more about the history and current mission of this well-known nonprofit that provides services to those with cancer.
Austin, often termed the “live music capital of the world” and marked with slogans such as “Keep Austin Weird,” is located in central 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.
Austin faces several issues in regards to hunger and homelessness. Hunger and homelessness are intertwined problems that must be addressed as a whole. Our hope is that we can understand not only how these issues are related, but also how organizations are effectively providing 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, issues it faces and what can be done to effectively combat those issues. 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 Austin holistically, both its issues and institutions.
Austin is packed with so much history and lots of fun activities! After each hard day of work, we’ll be exploring the city and adventuring. This includes (but is not limited to): checking out the views at Mount Bonnell, going to Hamilton Pool, biking/paddle boarding/kayaking around Lady Bird Lake, visiting the graffiti park, and walking around downtown Austin. Also the food rox, so we’ll be eating a lot!!!!
About the Site Leaders:
Lily (em2dd) is a 3rd year from Alexandria, VA – yep, classic NOVA gal. She’s so bad at writing about herself that she searched the UVA Girls page for the bio she wrote before coming to UVA. It was a painfully awkward, yet highly entertaining experience which is a pretty accurate description of every interaction she’s ever had. She’s majoring in history and foreign affairs, which means she has no idea what she’s doing with her life (so stop asking, mom) and she enjoys eating, sleeping, walking, and petting any dog that enters her field of vision. She went on an ASB trip to New Orleans last spring and had an absolute (ABSolute?) BLAST doing service and seeing sights, so she’s super pumped for this trip! When she isn’t eating, sleeping, walking, or petting dogs (which is a very limited window of time), she’s searching for the next great Netflix show and engaging in equally profound endeavors.
Megan (men9sc) is a third year nursing student from Leesburg, VA (also in NOVA – ever heard of it?). As a nursing student, she is fully qualified to perform surgery and looks forward to practicing on each participant. Some of her hobbies include: quoting The Office, taking excessively long naps, getting sucked into this black hole we call YouTube, trying to hold back tears when the hoos lose a basketball game, and procrastinating at a professional level. Megan went on the Austin ASB trip last year and, being the adventurous/spontaneous girl she is, decided to return to the same exact place once again. But seriously, she had the best time and cannot wait to return to the city of love!! Or live music! Something like that! She can also vouch that Lily’s bio was painfully awkward but entertaining enough that she decided to message her about being roommates. And the rest is history 🙂
Getting to work alongside members of AmeriCorps was a truly humbling experience. Though we were only there for a week, the time spent talking with our site supervisor impressed upon us several lessons that we would carry with us beyond our departure from New Orleans. Seeing her passion and selflessness was inspiring and made me reflect on my priorities. In addition to doing meaningful service work, I loved having the opportunity to interact and learn from people external to ASB. — Lily
I thoroughly enjoyed working at all of the different sites in Austin, but the food bank was the most eye-opening experience. It was incredible to see the amount of work that gets done each day, between receiving donations and getting the food out into the community. The food bank workers were all so passionate about serving their clients and meeting the needs of their community. I was shocked to learn that some of the workers were on food stamps, but were still so grateful for all that they have and ready to serve others as best they could. Working with them inspired me to take a step back and reconsider all the things I take for granted and to think about how I can best serve my community back home. — Megan