Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Jellico is a town that was once a thriving city but has been overcome with the stereotypical blemishes of rural Appalachia, including poverty and the opioid crisis. Faith is woven into the fabric of this area, yet this program focuses on authentic Christian faith in action. Participants will learn about issues surrounding poverty and rural medicine while learning about the rich history of this Appalachian community. This site will work with students in the classrooms at White Oak Elementary School, participating in various educational and enrichment activities. Participants on this site will also shadow physicians and physician assistants at one of three clinics at the faith-based Dayspring Family Health Center, which provides quality health care to residents of Tennessee and Kentucky on an affordable basis. Finally, participants will visit Springs of Life, a Christian rehabilitation center for men struggling with addiction and recover where they will gain a deeper understanding of the issues affecting the Jellico community.
Site Leaders: Emma Niemic and Morenike Ibidapo
Site Cost: $220 before fee waiver
While HIV/AIDS has spread throughout this country, and each affected area has grappled with different options for prevention and treatment, Boston has responded in uniquely progressive ways. Participants on this site will be able to serve with organizations that offer a variety of support services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS such as the Boston Living Center, Community Servings, and the AIDS Action Committee. Volunteers will prepare meals for the disadvantaged and chronically ill, assemble clean needle kits for drug users, work in a thrift store to raise funds for those affected by HIV/AIDS, and serve meals to members of the HIV/AIDS community in Boston. The diversity of service organizations provides ample opportunities for experiential learning and presents a holistic view of the history, development, treatment, and prevention of HIV/AIDS in one of America’s largest urban areas.
Site Leaders: Teresa Xiao and Zach Greenhoe
Site Cost: $490 before fee waiver
Los Angeles’s “skid row” is a 54-block area of Downtown LA, whose streets are home to more than 10,000 individuals. Many of these individuals have several health obstacles, with HIV/AIDS being one of them. Participants on this site will have the unique experience of residing at a church on skid row for the week, allowing them to get a better understanding of the community from the inside-out. During the day, participants will serve at organizations that offer supportive services to people living with HIV/AIDS. One of these organizations, Project Angel Food, provides meals to those that are critically ill; at this service site, participants will make meals for individuals who are homebound by disease and see the tangible results of their work through the hundreds of meals they prepare. In addition, participants will also assist LA Community Health Project, an organization that aims to lessen the spread of HIV/AIDS by providing clean needles and other supplies to injection drug users. Participants will also serve with AIDS Project LA, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS, reducing the incidence of infection, and advocating for fair and effective HIV-related public policy.
Site Leaders: Klara Lou and Saatvik Mohan
Site Cost: $690 before fee waiver
Many families solemnly journey to Memphis, TN, to benefit from the work done there on pediatric cancer research and treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Often, they remain relocated near the partner hospitals for an extended period of time during the treatment process. Organizations such as Target House and Forrest Spence Fund care for these families’ non-medical needs during their stay, and volunteers will support their efforts by completing chores, coordinating craft activities, and organizing special dinners for patients and their families. Participants will also tend to the St. Jude Garden of Eatin’, a green space aspiring to bring a smile to patients’ faces while providing the hospital cafeteria with fresh veggies and fruits. Finally, participants will spend an evening preparing a meal at Harrah’s Hope Lodge, a nurturing community which provides refuge for adults seeking cancer treatment. Participants will balance facility upkeep work with direct interaction with patients and their families, ending the week more knowledgeable about how to support cancer patients and their caregivers.
Site Leaders: Caleigh Morr and Vishnu Kasturi
Site Cost: $290 before fee waiver
In recent years, the discussion of intersectionality has come to the forefront of the academic, social, and political worlds, specifically as it pertains to African-American women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, black women are nearly four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white peers. Just as important as the health of African-American women is their empowering identity; these two facets intersect heavily. Housed in the diverse hub of Atlanta, SisterLove is a reproductive justice organization whose mission is to eradicate the impact of HIV/AIDS on African-American women and their families through education, prevention, support, and advocacy. Participants will also work with I Am B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L - Brave, Energetic, Assertive, Unique, Tenacious, Important, Fabulous, Unequaled and Loved - an educational enrichment organization to plan and lead workshops to build the self-confidence and identity of young girls. Throughout the week, participants will be able to adopt an intersectional perspective and will gain insight into the many ways that race, gender, and health intersect.
Site Leaders: Lamya Jaigirdar and Savannah Larkin
Site Cost: $240 before fee waiver
Harvest Farm is a branch of the Denver Rescue Mission, a faith-based organization that provides various outreach programs to men, women, and families. Located 40 miles north of Denver, the farm is dedicated to rehabilitating men who are recovering from alcoholism and drug addictions. The residents engage themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally by working on the farm while taking addiction education classes. Participants will take part in all aspects of daily life on the farm, ranging from hands-on work to attending a class to sharing meals with the residents, with the beautiful Rocky Mountains in the distance. This site offers the unique opportunity to participate in physical service while interacting with the men on the farm who eagerly share their life stories and goals.
Site Leaders: Alex Rains, Ben Armstrong, and Emily Chuang
Site Cost: $235 before fee waiver