Working with The Language Conservancy and the Lakota YMCA over Spring Break provided the trip participants and me with an in-depth look into various social problems that affect the Lakota Indian Reservation. Our group appreciated the welcoming atmosphere and the chance to fully immerse ourselves into Lakota culture. We will certainly never forget our experience in South Dakota and look forward to finding ways in Bloomington to keep attacking the social problems." - Evan Woloszyk, Site Leader
"I had the amazing opportunity to lead our trip the Everglades and Biscayne National Park, and what a great week it was! Our participants got the change to not only learn about how human activity and climate change has affected these beautiful places, but also take steps into helping the issue through invasive species removal and cleaning 1500 pounds of trash off sea turtle beaches. It was a long and busy week, but I know that myself, my co-site leader Morgan, and our group of 4 awesome ladies left our with a better understanding and appreciation for the work the National Parks Service does, and a strong mission to do our part to save the beautiful places we were working in." - Ali Mefford, Site Leader
"My trip to Belize far exceeded my expectation in every category and allowed me to challenge myself in ways I never thought. I feel like the trip embodied out of classroom learning by allowing us to be fully immersed in the Mayan culture the entire week. We ate their food, stayed in their lodging, worked for their community, went to their cultural sites and got to know them as people. I learned a lot, met some amazing friends, and made incredible memories that will carry into my life as a Kelley student and beyond." - Mattie Taylor, Participant
"I had an eye-opening Spring Break volunteering with 11 amazing students at the Croatian Red Cross Reception Center in Zagreb. During our time at the CRC, we participated in workshops that created a sense of community for residents who sought asylum, engaged in clean-up initiatives around the center's major facilities, created hygiene packages, and organized warehouse inventory. In addition to this tangible impact, our team had insightful discussions with both residents and CRC staff that revealed the true complexity of the current refugee crisis and the changing role that Croatia plays in alleviating the hardship faced by affected individuals. Due to its proximity to the Adriatic Sea, Croatia plays a vital role in the global refugee crisis as it is the first EU country in the traditional refugee journey.
The impact we created in a short period of time left our group inspired to continue to pursue similar volunteer work in the Bloomington community. Personally, I feel lucky to have experienced this trip with such a kind and fully-invested group of people who did everything in their power to create an inclusive environment, whether that meant speaking to residents in their native languages, or actively engaging with residents during work breaks. I am beyond grateful for the experience and the friendships I made on the trip." - Aron Barrera, Participant