Alternative Break Citizenship Schools

Posted by Break Away on April 27, 2015

Alternative Break Citizenship Schools (ABCs) Deadline to register May 18, 2015

The annual gathering of active citizens has begun! Join the Break Away staff and campus leaders from colleges and universities across the nation for a week that will enrich your alternative break program, expand your leadership potential, and determine the direction of the national movement. Alternative Break Citizenship schools (ABCs) combine the intensity of an authentic alternative break experience with innovative training and networking opportunities to share ideas and best practices for programs while promoting active citizenship.

For over 20 years Break Away has provided schools with quality training to further the alternative break movement. The ABCs are the only experiential training conferences dedicated entirely to creating quality alternative break programs. Whether you are interested in starting alternative breaks on your campus or are coming from a well-established program, this conference will accelerate the quality and the quantity of your work.

Here at the Break Away, we are particularly excited to announce four compelling social issues and locations for the 2015 ABCs:

The 2015 Alternative Break Citizenship Schools

Ensuring Representation for Unheard Voices | Atlanta, Georgia

June 7 – 12

Hosted by Emory University

“Every single life matters, equally and infinitely.” Yet the stories and perspectives of many are invisible, dismissed, or otherwise lost. The media and historical record magnify voices representing individuals of privileged social class, race, and ethnicity, at the risk of silencing authentic stories that reach across difference to foster empathy and understanding. In partnership with StoryCorps, ABCs participants will collect oral histories from Atlanta residents across various ages and experiences. Participants will be trained on the collecting, sharing, and preserving of people’s stories to improve public understanding of the social injustices and stereotypes we encounter in our lives. Stories documented at this ABCs will go on record at the Library of Congress.

Changing the Narrative: Community Building as Power | Ferguson, Missouri

June 21 – 26

In partnership with Operation Help or Hush

Ferguson, Missouri has become the crux of a polarizing, nationwide debate about race and power in the justice system. The media has perpetuated the now deeply-entrenched belief that the town is a dangerous, corrupt, war zone. Community leaders in Ferguson have been working to turn that debate into dialogue and conversation into action. With an invitation from local organizers and activists at Operation Help or Hush, ABCs participants will assist with initiatives that emerged from community polling and asset mapping efforts, while gaining crucial organizing and dialogue skills to further this work in their own communities. ​​

Navigating Access, Integration, and Citizenship as New Americans | Columbus, Ohio

July 5 – 10

Hosted by The Ohio State University

For thousands of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants settling in Ohio each year, the challenges of successful integration and pressures of assimilation create barriers to establishing healthy and thriving lives. Uprooted from their cultures and communities – either by choice or force – new Americans must navigate complicated processes as they add to the economic development and cultural richness of the area. ABCs participants will work with organizations in Columbus that assist new American populations in building skills to address barriers related to language, education, fair and affordable housing, and employment.

Answering the Call to Action: A Second Century of National Parks | Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

July 25 – August 1

Hosted by the National Park Service
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Break Away is calling upon 50 alternative break programs to recommit to citizen stewardship and connection by sending trips to work with national parks in 2016. As a part of a long-term partnership with Ranger Todd Nelson and the Grand Canyon, we’re joining the NPS in their campaign to re-engage youth in the parks and expand our understanding of environmental preservation. Participants at this ABCs will work with the Fire Management and Vegetation programs as they develop an understanding of natural systems restoration in monitoring existing wildland and using controlled burns to maintain diverse habitat.

Quotes from past ABCs Participants:

“It was a life-changing week. I learned so much about an important issue and I finally feel I am involved in a movement.”

“You will come away with a skill set that will help you in areas extending far beyond alternative breaks.”

“An excellent opportunity to connect with the national movement, improve your own program through workshops, and experience a model alternative break.”

“Truly a transformative experience. It will change your life and leave you filled with hope and knowledge, and the resources and confidence to start or better your alternative break program.”

Come learn what these ABCs graduates are talking about! We encourage you to send representatives from your alternative break program to take advantage of the premier training for alternative break leaders. Register here.

The ABCs fill up every year and in response to this, for the third year in a row, we have expanded our efforts to host a fourth conference; we encourage you to register early to secure your space. Being true alternative breakers, we have worked hard to keep registration prices as low as possible, and will continue to offer an early-bird registration for the ABCs. That deadline is Thursday, April 23rd and allows you to take advantage of the ABCs at a significantly reduced cost. The final date to register for the ABCs will be Monday, May 18th. Payment may be made online here or by check; all payment information can be sent to or mailed to Break Away, 2451 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 3124, Atlanta, GA 30339. Once your participant registration form and payment are complete, you will be fully registered for the ABCs and will receive confirmation from Break Away. Additionally, you are able to confirm a space with payment (and not with a name) since that often happens with transitioning leadership.

Staff Track details, and other updates will soon be available on our website. If you have any questions in the meantime, please call 404.919.7482 or email the national office at

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