Located right outside Jacksonville, FL, Challenge Enterprises provides person-centered programs, services, and work opportunities for individuals with disabilities. In company with individuals with disabilities, participants will spend their week assisting with work projects, beautifying the premises, participating in special activities such as bowling, and preparing and sharing dinners. On Friday evening, participants will help throw the Challenge dance as a culmination of a week spent getting to know individuals with disabilities on a personal level. The site will illuminate participants on the Challenge Enterprises approach to “the Power of People and Possibilities.”
Site Leaders: Alex Jin and Meghana Bhimreddy
Site Cost: $250 before fee waiver
Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, a residential school in Greenfield, NH, has been serving children and adults with disabilities and their families since 1953. Participants on this site will be placed into individual classrooms in the school, working as mentors to students between ages 5 and 23, while living alongside wonderful children with developmental, emotional, and physical disabilities who are working hard to be able to fit into the outside world. Volunteers will experience firsthand the joys and challenges of working at a residential care facility that caters to the needs of people with disabilities.
Site Leaders: Francesca Sigmond and Mine Muezzinoglu
Site Cost: $525 before fee waiver
The MGH Special Equestrians Arena was founded to promote the well-being of students at the nearby Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB). This therapeutic horse-riding program operates out of a 39,000 square foot facility and serves nearly 400 children who have either a visual impairment, hearing impairment, or multiple disabilities. Each activity in the equine-centered program targets an aspect of physical and/or emotional wellbeing, leaving AIDB students with improved balance and motor skills, verbal skills, and self-esteem. Volunteers at MGH will assist in caring for the horses, work on several maintenance projects in the barn, and mentor children with sensory impairments in riding classes. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of a multi-faceted, animal-centered approach to therapy, colored by those who love and care for it.
Site Leaders: Rachel Welscott and Veer Shah
Site Cost: $235 before fee waiver
Art can serve as a powerful outlet for expression and self-discovery, particularly for individuals with disabilities. Few places promote the benefits of art as well as Austin, Texas. In this cultural hub, participants will volunteer primarily at Arc of the Arts, an organization that offers comprehensive support to adults with disabilities. The Arc provides its artists with classes, studio space, and art shows that are designed to stimulate creativity, boost feelings of self-worth, and increase independence. Participants will also have the opportunity to contribute to Imagine Art, which provides a free fine arts studio, community garden, and support groups for artists with a wide spectrum of disabilities. By both learning about and serving in these dynamic art galleries, participants will gain an enriched understanding of inclusive art.
Site Leaders: Donovan Taylor, Harry Choi, and Maddy Schmall
Site Cost: $250 before fee waiver
Portland is one of the most progressive cities in the country when it comes to sustainable living. Out of countless non-profits working to preserve the Pacific Northwest, participants will work with prominent environmental organizations such as Dig In, Friends of Trees, Depave, Tryon Creek Watershed Council, City Repair, and the ReBuilding Center. At the ReBuilding Center, volunteers will work in a recycling warehouse salvaging reclaimed materials. With Dig In, Tryon Creek, and Friends of Trees, volunteers will work on local vegetation planting sites across the city. With Depave, the group will help tear out a parking lot or road which will be replaced with a green space. The group will also visit Dignity Village, a sustainable, democratic community for people experiencing homelessness. Participants will see how each organization serves, improves, and sustains the city of Portland.
Site Leaders: Sydney Juda and Travis Duck
Site Cost: $665 before fee waiver