Serve and learn with Amizade in Washington D.C.
The United States of America is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, yet on any given night, some 500,000 individuals experience homelessness. During this program, participants explore the history, causes and consequences of homelessness, food insecurity, and “forced displacement” (gentrification) in the U.S. through dynamic service-learning at a wide variety of community and non-profit organizations. Through discussions, interactions with speakers and workshops, participants compare the strengths and limitations of emergency food and housing programs, federal food and nutrition assistance and community-based approaches to organizing for change.
Students will spend the week exploring the history, causes, and consequences of homelessness and food insecurity in the U.S. through dynamic service-learning opportunities at a wide variety of community and non-profit organizations. Through discussions, interactions with speakers and educational workshops, students will compare the strengths and limitations of emergency food and housing programs, federal food and nutrition assistance and community-based approaches to organizing for change.
Location: Washington, DC
Service Opportunities: Hunger and homelessness street outreach, meal preparation and delivery, shelter upkeep, assistance at pop-up farmers markets in food deserts, sorting and packaging of dried goods at local food banks, walking tours of “forced displacement” (gentrification) in the Shaw neighborhood, speakers from the National Coalition for the Homeless.
HOW TO PLAN A PROGRAM
We pride ourselves in creating mutually empowering and safe global service-learning programs. This means that when you develop an experience with Amizade, you’re building a responsible, intentional, and community driven service-learning program. Programs typically have three phases: (1) pre-immersion, (2) immersion, and (3) re-entry. Amizade works with you in all three phases to develop your program, including to build curriculum, itineraries, budgets, evaluation, follow-up, and sustainability.
The first step in building your program is to have a chat with us. We’re a people-powered organization, which means a little less tech and a little more human conversation. Send us an email, give us a ring or fill out this form to initiate the start of your journey.
Once we’re all feeling good about a potential collaboration and have a clear, co-created vision, Amizade and its partners submit a proposal to you. The proposal will include an overview of what you might be engaging in, a draft itinerary, health and safety information, and a transparent line-item budget.
After the proposal is agreed on, we send over a digital contract. This includes important legal and financial considerations. After a signed contract and a non-refundable $1,000 deposit are submitted, we can officially lock in your dates and begin the process of preparing for your program.
This phase includes pre-departure orientations (we mandate at least one with our staff), learning about the process of travel, culture, service, and the community you are visiting. This is also when family and community sensitization takes place, as well as any relevant coursework. Often this is when we see group bonding start, comfort zones being extended, and new challenges (as well as some nerves and excitement).
This is the travel phase. Community engagement, reflective practice, academic inquiry, and exploration all should be taking place at this time. All of our programs are a mixture of service, workshops, and cultural and recreational activities. Participants will step out of their comfort zones, try new things, engage complex issues, be introduced to new networks and ideas, and bond. Often this can be a very disrupting, inspiring, and transformational experience.
After a transformative experience, we sometimes can fall right back into the grind of life when we return home. It can be tough, isolating, and confusing. Re-entry is perhaps the most important phase for determining what kind of neighbor – the very person – you become. It’s also the easiest to ignore. In this phase, there should be serious reflection, advocacy, support systems, and/or a plan for community engagement, or social action. Depending on the design and funding of your program, Amizade can help create a plan and opportunities for participants.
Since 1994 we have been thought leaders and pioneers in developing best practices in responsible global service-learning, study abroad, and solidarity-building volunteering experiences. We work with:
Universities (faculty-led, alternative break, and semester abroad)
Community and Religious Groups
Martha’s Table’s programs are divided into three initiatives: healthy start, healthy eating, and healthy connections. In addition to emergency food response activities, students will have the chance to participate in a Martha’s Table Joyful Food Market at a local elementary school located in a low-income district.
So Others Might Eat (SOME) believes in attacking homelessness holistically and with respect. Volunteers often serve in their soup kitchen, but there are many additional educational opportunities on-site. The SOME team is always available for presentations to educate the public on the many complex facets of addressing homelessness.
ONE DC strives to move beyond service provision to build community capacity and leadership so that low-income people of color can act for themselves to create and preserve economic equity and well-being for all. Some of their pillars include the right to wellness, right to housing, people’s platform, and community learning.
CENTRAL UNION MISSION
Central Union Mission operates an emergency food and shelter program and works to transform some of the area’s toughest rehabilitation cases, including drug addicts, gang members, criminal offenders, and the chronically homeless. In addition to receiving an informative tour of the shelter, volunteers assist in shelter upkeep and meal service.
DC CENTRAL KITCHEN
DCCK’s mission is to use food to empower people and stimulate economic change. First and foremost, volunteers help DCCK produce more than 5,000 meals every day of the year to source to local shelters, low-income neighborhoods, and schools.
Thrive DC works to prevent and end homelessness in Washington, DC by providing people with a range of services to help stabilize their lives. Thrive DC prides itself on cultivating a community of support among staff, clients and volunteers.
NATIONAL COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS
NCH has been in the front line trenches advocating for people living outside for decades. NCH believes that running education programs - like the Faces of the Homeless Speakers Bureau and Urban Plunge Challenge - will create more advocates and eventually catalyze long term change.
WASHINGTON D.C. TEAM
Find a sample itinerary of activities for groups in Washington D.C.