National, International and Regional Alternative Breaks
To create a community of active and educated individuals dedicated to the pursuit of social justice.
Branch Out will engage students in diverse quality alternative breaks so that they become active and educated members of society.
Branch Out sponsors three kinds of alternative breaks:
- Regional in Virginia, North Carolina and Washington, DC, on weekends
- National in various East Coast locations during spring break, and
- International around the world on winter, spring and summer breaks.
Branch Out is an alternative breaks program, not a service trips program, because we offer much more than a direct service and travel experience. We educate our participants on issues, prepare them with training and orientation, reflect on our learning and build active citizens. “Alternative Breaks” is a term recognized nationally, and using that term identifies us as part of a national movement of strong programs building active citizens and making positive community change.
As a proud member of Break Away, Branch Out integrates the Eight Components of a Quality Alternative Break and the concept of the Active Citizen Continuum. Branch Out was Break Away's 2011 Program of the Year and our advisor was the 2010 Staff Person of the Year!
Branch Out also has a strong focus on social justice and works to ensure that our projects build capacity and respect the dignity of the communities with whom we partner. Our site leaders are trained in principles of social justice and gain an understanding of privilege so that our alternative breaks can bring about more justice in society.
Reorientation - or what you do with your alternative break once you're back on campus and going forward - is a critical part of what we do. Sometimes people begin volunteering locally in connection to the issue their trip addressed; sometimes they read the news or vote differently; sometimes they make really big life shifts. Whatever you do, all that is part of being an active citizen.
We are proud to offer Reorientation Grants to financially support projects that individuals or groups who have been on alternative breaks create to further their service and learning after their trips. We compile a list of on-campus and local opportunities related to various social issues each year to help you stay connected right here in Williamsburg.