Alternative Spring Break ‘09: Hunger and Homelessness in NYC (March ‘09)
The purpose of 2009’s Alternative Spring Break was to provide students with a three-dimensional view of hunger and homelessness as these issues play out in New York City. To this end, students engaged and learned about services and activist organizations dedicated to ameliorating and solving hunger and homelessness. Specifically, students visited Ready, Willing and Able’s opportunity center, did a trash tour to uncover food retailers’ waste and alternative sources of subsistence, and viewed, as well as discussed, the movie Dark Days, about homeless people who took up residence in New York City’s underground metro system. In addition, students volunteered by rescuing food from a food show with City Harvest, working at Broadway Community Inc.’s soup kitchen, and painting two murals for young mothers who have aged out of the foster care system at NY Foundling.
These experiences were contextualized by educational programs, such as: history lessons about hunger and homelessness in America and New York City, a trip to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to give students a historical perspective of affordable housing, a workshop led by educators at the Action Center to End World Hunger to place hunger in a global context, and a presentation by Pat Markee of Coalition for the Homeless, one of the major activist and policy organizations dedicated to the issue of homelessness in the City.
Cooking Oil Recycling Campaign (February ‘09)
Students worked with the Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC) to encourage restaurants in the Lower East Side to recycle their vegetable-based cooking oil. Students were first trained by the LESEC on New York City climate change issues, the veggie oil recycling program of Tri-State Biodiesel, and other sustainable transportation issues. For the remainder of the time, students “hit the streets” and canvassed the Lower East Side to get restaurants to recycle their cooking oil and waste less!
Computers for Youth (November ‘08)
Students worked with the organization Computers for Youth and helped teach families-in-need how to use their donated computer, as well as educational software, in Brooklyn.
Vote 18 at Pleasantville High School (October ‘08)
Pace students partnered with Vote 18 to teach interactive workshops on the importance of voting and registering to vote in preparation for the 2008 presidential election.
Paint a School Day (October ‘08)
Students participated in this annual New York Cares’ New York Cares Day event, refurbishing a school in the Bronx.