Thanksgiving Break 2017
Three groups of IU students spent their Thanksgiving Break giving back to communities around the world!
Urban Revitalization: Empowering Entrepreneurs through microloans
Over spring break a group of students traveled to Detriot, Michigan to work with LaunchDetroit and learn about micro finance and social entrepreneurship. Microfinance is a relatively new form of financing that typically targets lower income entrepreneurs. Microfinance was founded in education. Most microfinance organizations have an aspect that teaches business skills to the people receiving the loans. Downtown Detroit is a hot spot for microfinance and social entrepreneurship, it was hit hard with an economic decline but has since climbed back and is now a powerhouse city that has it's hand in just about every industry. LaunchDetroit is a project of Rotary members in Michigan that provides microloans and free business education to local entreprenuers. In addition participants recieve a mentor from the community. The students on this trip were able to help multiple entreprenuers as they tackled thier business venture with money loaned from LaunchDetroit.
Providing companionship and nourishment to new yorkers in need
This group of IU students spent their Thanksgiving Break in New York learning about companionship and nourishment specifically relating to the issue of hunger amongst the elderly, disabled, and financially less fortunate. New York City is known for its homeless population, usually depicted on the streets or in the subway. The number of homeless people in New York City has reached it's highest level in recent years, currently over 60,000 people sleep in the New York City shelter system each night. This group partnered with Citymeals on Wheels which created The Emergency Food Package which is a shipment to elderly and disables New Yorkers at their homes. Throughout the week they aided Citymeals in their delivery of morning and afternoon meals. They not only packaged meals but transported the meals to the neighboring homes giving them the opportunity to spend time with the community members.
A bottom up approach: Human Security at the community level
Over Thanksgiving break a group of students went to the Dominican Republic to work with 7Elements and learn about human security. More than one third of the DR lives on less than $1.25 a day and over 20% of the country lives in extreme poverty. 7Elements is an NGO that has designed and implemented projects to alleviate human insecurities. The organization uses a unique system to properly find and enter local communities and provide ethical and sustainable methods to help alleviate their insecurities. On this trip participants had the opportunity to immerse themselves in a small fishing community in Northern Dominican Republic where they worked to provide security though various hands on projects.