Our Mission and Vision
Branch Out's mission is to engage students in diverse quality alternative breaks so that they become active and educated members of society. Our vision is to create a community of active and educated individuals dedicated to the pursuit of social justice.
Branch Out is committed to working for a society in which everyone can achieve their full potential. We strive 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.
Social Justice: working toward a society that values dignity and equality, and that allows all individuals to reach their full potential
Community Collaboration: prioritizing community in values and actions, and working in groups to achieve shared goals; continuing advocacy, service, and philanthropy after alternative breaks end to further promote community goals and address social issues
Intentionality: ensuring alignment of mission, vision, and values in all our practices; creating high-quality experiences that develop active citizenship and meet community goals
Inclusion: creating a safe and welcoming community for all; ensuring accessibility to programs for a diversity of participants
Collective Leadership: recognizing and utilizing the unique contributions of each person at all levels of the program; creating conditions to empower all to work together toward shared goals
Fun and Lightheartedness: honoring the humanity of each person through humor and encouragement; incorporating warmth and care for community in all processes
Mutually-Beneficial Partnerships: supporting community-driven social change while students learn and are challenged in community settings; working in solidarity with community partners and members; developing active citizenship in all those involved
Sustainability: working toward long-term community partnerships and relationships; retaining and developing student leaders within the program; reducing and offsetting negative environmental impacts; practicing simplicity in budgeting, housing choices, and food, as a way of being in solidarity with community members
The MovementAs a 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, OCE Director Melody Porter, was the 2010 Staff Person of the Year.