Challenging Borders: Emerson Alternative Spring Break 2015
Welcome to Suzanne Hinton's Personal Fundraising Page!
Welcome, Friends! Please help support the student leadership program Alternative Spring Break (ASB) at Emerson College, which runs through the office I direct, our Office of Service Learning and Community Action. Your contribution will help defray the costs of transportation, lodging and meals for 10 people over one week at the El Paso, USA/Juárez, Mexico border.
Many of you know that the Office of Service Learning
and Community Action works with students throughout the schoolyear to help
guide them through organizing service projects for their spring breaks, a time
when many college youth are tuning out in order to relax. However, these busy young
artists, creators, and communicators at Emerson choose to spend their time off in areas
across the US learning about and from communities as they learn about their own
powers to make a difference. Of the dozen ASB programs our office has run, all
of them have emphasized Emerson’s core values of moral courage, celebration of
diversity of thought and people, and commitment to ethical engagement,
collaboration, and meaningful interaction with local and national communities.
Our teams return to share compelling stories and new consciousness with our
Emerson, Boston and home communities.
must admit that I am at once sickened by what I see and hear during these
experiences, and simultaneously heartened by the love from which local
community responses emanate.
In 2009 on my first
ASB, I worked in a community supporting immigrant farming families at the
epicenter of US food slavery in Immokalee, Florida. In 2010, I served in
various non-profits alongside students as we learned about homelessness in my own
backyard of Boston. My third ASB in 2011 was in Niceville, Florida,
contributing to coastal restoration in the wake of the BP oil spill, and also
to the support of the Muskogee/Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjtVk5cc).
I spent my fourth ASB in 2012 in Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico, sharing my love
of gardening and passion for food justice, and learning about food sovereignty while
we created community gardens for schoolchildren, many of whom belong to the
Pueblo Nation (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjz7ModD).
In 2013, I served at the El Paso/Juárez border studying immigration politics
and serving the network there that supports people who are undocumented (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjEkbBP7). In 2014 I worked
with First Peoples of the Cheyenne River Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota contributing
to innovative programming focused on youth and family empowerment—especially that
of young women—on a reservation the size of Connecticut that encompasses what
is the nation's poorest county, yet a region rich in spirit, connectedness,
resilience, and pride (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjUqSL8n).
The 2013 El Paso team represents a great
example of bringing lessons home: The team vowed to keep their consciousness alive and when they returned to Emerson
and started the student group Emerson UNITE (Understanding National Immigration
Through Education), which I advise. In
fact, our ASB team won the College’s Annual Diversity Achievement Award for the
improvements the members pledged to make here on our campus, having been
inspired by their experiences at the border.
remain close to many ASB alumnae/i who name the program as one of the most
transformative experiences not only of their Emerson careers, but also of their
lives. Whether they have entered
service programs like the Peace Corps,
City Year, AmeriCorps,
or Teach for America, or have
begun careers in journalism, publishing, film, theatre, marketing,
communications or speech therapy, they use the knowledge and skills acquired
for one, am changed significantly for the better from these brief but
enormously impactful experiences, and, like my students, I try to keep the
spark alive by creating more advocates in my daily life upon return. Many of
you have been kind enough to give me your support and your time, listening to
my stories and helping me reconcile the great needs I see constantly with the
pile of unearned privileges and advantages I continue to enjoy. I'm asking you
to tap that kindness once again.
Thank you for considering supporting this work that helps young people become lifelong engaged citizens.
WHAT WE'RE DOINGAlternative Spring Break (ASB) is a year-long leadership and community engagement program that culminates in a week-long service immersion experience during spring break week. ASB helps students develop opportunities to learn about and from communities as they learn about their own potential to contribute to community-based efforts.
Emerson College's ASB program began as a student leadership initiative in 1998 when six students and two faculty members spent spring break doing environmental volunteer work in Virginia. Over the years, this student leadership program has blossomed into a popular initiative. ASB is an opportunity for students to develop programs to learn about and from communities as they discover their own potential to contribute to community-based efforts.
ASB originated as a one-week program counter to "traditional" spring break trips to foster civic engagement and educate students on issues of communities that are not their own. Today, ASB is not just a week, it's a way.
WHERE WE'RE GOINGThe El Paso ASB program offers students the opportunity to better understand the issue of immigration in US border communities. ASB participants served with this community in 2013, and participants this year will continue to strengthen Emerson's partnerships with various community organizations. Through hands-on service and by engaging with community members, participants will learn about the issues of economic development, food justice, health, and human rights at the border. Through this Border Immersion Experience, students will develop the knowledge and consciousness to make a positive impact in their own community upon their return.
WHY IT'S IMPORTANTImmigration is currently one of the country's most pressing issues. Immigration is more than just politics and statistics, it's a human rights issue that is interconnected with every citizen. This country was founded on immigrants. We are all immigrants, and their stories are our stories.
Many of the privileges we have are direct results of the hands of humans just entering the United States community. One out of 28 Americans are undocumented. Someone you know, a friend, a family member, a coworker may be undocumented, but too afraid to tell you for fear of deportation or inhumane consequences.
WHY ASB?The program emphasizes Emerson's core values of moral courage, celebration of diversity of thought and people, and commitment to ethical engagement, collaboration, and meaningful interaction with local and national communities. We are seeking the truths that lie within our political system and country. Through this experience, we will learn what is true and what is happening on the ground - and more importantly, the power we have to change things for the better.
We Reached Our Primary Goal! Thank You!
Published on Wednesday, Mar. 4, 2015 at 04:58 PM (EDT)
Our campaign closed yesterday, with flying colors. We were able to raise $6,060, which will allow us to do almost everything in our chock-full itinerary! We’ve learned that it takes a community to be able to affect another community - and we thank you for being our community. We cannot wait to grow as advocates of immigration, and to help in giving voices to those who are not typically heard.
We are still accepting donations - the total amount we need to raise is $8,500, and we are getting very close to that final goal!
We believe that immigrant rights are humans rights, and now we will be able to take the next step forward in fighting for this cause.
Thank you all - this would not be possible without you.
Link to this Update
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Ashley Tarbet DeStefano
18 supporters have chosen not to be listed for "Challenging Borders: Emerson Alternative Spring Break 2015".
Make an Impact
A gift of this amount pays for a healthy meal for one ASB participant so that they will have the energy to engage in service and learning all day.
A gift of this amount pays for an educational activity for one participant to learn about and better understand issues facing the El Paso community, and how we can take action to create change when we return to Boston.
A gift of this amount pays for five students to cook, serve, and eat a meal with community members staying in a local shelter that will share their stories of how and why they crossed the border.
A gift of this amount pays for one day of van rental that will allow the group to travel between service sites throughout the day.
A gift of this amount fills our gas tank for the week so the group can travel throughout and engage with as much of the El Paso community as possible.
A gift of this amount pays for lodging for half of our group at the local community center, ensuring that participants experience El Paso as close as possible to the perspective of the community members we serve.
A gift of this amount sponsors youth engagement activities throughout the week, including van rental and travel between service sites, serving lunch to youth at the Southwest Key Detention Center while we listen to their stories of border crossing, and assisting immigrant teens in adding books to their library, which will help them attain their dreams of higher education.
A gift of this amount pays for a full round trip flight for one student to participate in a life-changing Border Immersion Experience in El Paso, TX and return home to create change in the Boston community.