Alternative Winter Break

AWB is a week-long service learning program emphasizing Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), social responsibility and volunteerism. While working to make a difference, you’ll gain Jewish context for the good work you are doing, a deeper understanding of the community in which you are working, important leadership skills and wonderful new friends who share your values!

The program is open to Jewish teens in grades 9-12 from all across the United States and Canada.

AWB was initially inspired by Young Judaea’s Caravan for Katrina, a national campaign to gather supplies from Young Judaea communities for Jackson, Mississippi, one of the communities hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Once the initial urgency had passed, Young Judaea knew that there would be years of work to be done in several communities, and settled on New Orleans, with a few one off trips to Los Angeles, the Navajo Nation, South Florida and NYC after Hurricane Sandy.  This past year, Young Judaea chose to bring the program to Charleston, South Carolina to focus on an issue that was very important to the teen leadership, racial diversity and justice.  In the 12 years that AWB has operated, over 600 teens and college student counselors have participated, giving over 15,000 hours to these communities.

Spend this winter break making an impact and join Jewish teens from across the country on Alternative Winter Break (AWB) to help rebuild communities in Puerto Rico, where the devastating effects of last year’s Hurricane Maria are still being felt. You’ll make a tangible difference in the lives of others and connect with a vibrant community working to recover from an unprecedented natural disaster.

On September 20th, 2017 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico (and surrounding territories) in the worst natural disaster of the island’s history. As a result of the storm, Puerto Rico’s power grid was effectively destroyed, $90 billion in damage occured, and hundreds of citizens were killed. Today, after months of recovery efforts, the people of Puerto Rico are still in need of help.

After learning about the devastation of the hurricane, the JCC/Young Judaea community of Puerto Rico “adopted” the Northeastern coastal town of Loiza. With a population of about 29,000, Loiza’s residents were already living in dire poverty prior to the storm.  The YJ and JCC community spent hours in Loiza distributing supplies and helping to rebuild in the aftermath of the storm, and the relationship continues. At its National Convention, Judaeans collected over $400 in coins that has already been donated to Loiza to purchase medication for its elderly population.  Although the teens were proud of the coin collection and what it did, they are thrilled to travel to Puerto Rico to put their feet on the ground and do some real work.

Through our partnership with Young Judaea Puerto Rico and the JCC, Alternative Winter Break will work directly with the municipality of Loiza on rebuilding projects, debris removal, food delivery to the home bound, distribution of supplies, and more.  In addition, the group will take part in the community’s Christmas carnival by running games and booths for the children of Loiza.

Participants will also take part in a special workshop given by IsraAid, an Israel-based international NGO that provides a broad variety of services after natural disasters, environmental crises, and humanitarian events. This workshop and other engaging educational programs will round out the service learning portion of Alternative Winter Break.

The program will also include a visit to Old San Juan, fun on the beach and other surprises and adventures. See the video below for more information on the devastation of Hurricane Maria and the impact we’ll make on this year’s trip to Puerto Rico.

To register, go to www.regpack.com/yjreg

Dates

December 23rd – December 28th, 2018

Cost

The cost of AWB Puerto Rico is $500. Young Judaea is committed to offering programs that are as affordable as possible without compromising the integrity or quality of the experience. There are a variety of subsidies available. Please contact winterbreak@youngjudaea.org for information about subsidies and scholarships. The cost does not include flights which are the responsibility of the participant to organize.  See our FAQ section for more information about flights.

What the Fees Cover

  • Room and board, including three kosher meals a day.
  • Transportation throughout the trip, including a bus to/from the airport, as well as buses and vans to and from volunteer sites.
  • Staff supervision. We pride ourselves on the excellence of our staff and counselors in providing a safe and supervised trip, as well as the high quality of our staff as educators and role models as Jewish activists. There will be at least one Young Judaea staff member to every eight participants.
  • Non-volunteer activities: this may include boat rides, museums and other exciting opportunities that Charleston has to offer.
  • The cost DOES NOT include the flight.  The flight is the responsibility of the participant to organize.

Subsidy Information

Due to a number of generous gifts, we are able to offer more subsidies and discounts than in the past. These may include:

  • “Bring a Chaver” – Current Young Judaeans will be able to receive $50 off the total price of AWB if they bring a brand new participant (no prior Young Judaea program or camp participant). The new “Judaean” will also receive $50. Both discounts will be applied only after the new participant fully registers and pays. These subsidies are limited so participants are encouraged to recruit new friends early in the process.
  • “Matching” – Participants can be set up with a “Friendraising Page” where they will be able to create a personalized fundraising page through the Young Judaea system. Young Judaea will match the first $100 for the first 20 individuals who raise this amount.  To set up a page, follow the instructions in the Fundraising Packet.

As we continue with our fundraising, more subsidies may be made available Participants may combine  “bring a chaver” and “matching” subsidies. For more information about Fundraising, email winterbreak@youngjudaea.org.

You must register at www.regpacks.com/yjreg before opening your fundraising page.

Please understand that in order to keep the price low for AWB, there is currently NO straight scholarship available. The AWB Fundraising Guide has been put together by the Young Judaea Alternative Winter Break team. We hope that some of these fundraising ideas will allow you join us on AWB without straining your family’s finances.  The main portion of the guide discusses setting up a self-fundraising page.  Young Judaea will match up to $100 of your fundraising.

AWB is not only about attending the service trip, but also becoming an active advocate for the causes AWB promotes: protecting the environment, fighting poverty, visiting the sick, and much more. This guide will help equip you with the tools you need to go out and persuade those in your communities to invest in the work that you are doing this December and beyond.

If you have any questions, please be in touch with Young Judaea at winterbreak@youngjudaea.org or by phone at (917) 595-2100 ext 209.

 

For more detailed information on this year’s AWB trip, please visit our FAQ section.

If you have already used Regpacks to register for a different Young Judaea program, please go to www.regpacks.com/yjreg, log-in and simply choose the AWB product. DO NOT open a new registration. If you have forgotten your log-in, please contact us at winterbreak@youngjudaea.org or call 917-595-2100 x209

If you have not yet registered for a Young Judaea program, go to www.regpacks.com/yjreg create a registration and choose the product “Alternative Winter Break”. This link should help you. However, if needed, please contact us and we will guide you through the process.

For any questions or help with registration, please email us at winterbreak@youngjudaea.org or call 917-595-2100 x209

AWB Interest Form

If you would like more information or have questions about AWB, please fill out this simple form and we will contact you.