Animal Rights

Red Fern Animal Shelter: Dresden, TN (Winter 2015, POP 2016, Winter 2016, Spring 2017)

Red Fern Animal Shelter is a no-kill, non-profit shelter that is entirely staffed by volunteers. The shelter seeks to facilitate the adoption of companion animals to permanent and caring homes and provide expert medical attention to each of the 94 dogs and 103 cats currently at the shelter. Participants worked directly with the animals in and around the shelter.

Childhood Education

Operation Breakthrough: Kansas City, MO (Winter 2015, POP 2016)

Operation Breakthrough is an education and social services center for children living in poverty. Students helped out in classrooms of JumpStart preschool kids. Volunteers also helped to prepare for the holiday adopt-a-family program.

Children’s Health Care

Arkansas Children's Hospital: Little Rock, AR (Spring 2016)

Arkansas Children's Hospital is the largest children's hospital in the state of Arkansas and one of the nation's leading children's hospitals in outstanding patient care. While working at ACH students organized donations, interacted with patients by helping them with arts and crafts and by organizing large events for patients, and they learned more about what it takes to run a hospital for children.

Domestic Abuse Intervention

Greenhouse 17: Lexington, KY (Spring 2016)

Greenhouse 17 is an advocacy agency that provides crisis intervention and stabilization services to victims of intimate partner abuse. The organization is based on a 30 acre farm near Lexington, KY. ASB participants worked on various projects at the main facility, which including organizing materials, preparing compost, and helping with planting crops. The students were also able to interact and have conversations with the residents of the farm and learn more about their stories and how to combat intimate partner abuse.

Environmental Conservancy

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy: Hendersonville, NC (Winter 2016)

The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that partners with landowners to protect land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life. They also aim to raise awareness about the importance of land conservation for future generations. There are currently nearly 27,000 acres of farm, forest, and natural lands that make up the 150 projects the CMLC is involved in. While at the site, students participated in projects that include non-native invasive species removal, light trail construction and maintenance, trash and debris clean-up, and habitat restoration and plantings.

Food Insecurity

Community Servings: Jamaica Plains, MA (Winter 2015, Spring 2017)

Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program that provides services to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. Students helped the staff prepare meals for the clients. In doing so, they helped make and deliver over 1,800 meals. The volunteers were also able to learn about the function and management of the non-profit.

Homelessness Support and Advocacy

National Coalition for the Homeless: Washington, DC (Winter 2016)

The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, advocates, and supporters who are committed to the mission of ending homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected. While at the site, students attended a Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau panel and participated in an outreach run, where they distributed items such as pre-packaged food and/or hygiene kits and engaged people experiencing homelessness in conversation. Students were also involved in several other advocacy and education projects throughout the week.

Homelessness Support and Empowerment

Center for the Homeless: South Bend, IN (Spring 2016)

This site is not the typical “homeless shelter.” While the organization provides thousands of safe nights to those without a place to live of their own, it also strives to help the homeless in the community transition to self-sufficiency. Their very successful programs include the shelter, personal development and education, job training, transitional housing, and homeownership. Participants at this site were expected to get involved in multiple ways. The week’s activities included cooking and serving meals to residents of the shelter, helping kids with homework in the after-school program, working in the early childcare center, and other general projects. There were also several opportunities to meet and hear from those who have (or currently are) living through homelessness.

HIV/AIDS Housing Support

Doorways: St. Louis, MO (Spring 2016, Spring 2017)

Doorways is an interfaith non-profit organization which provides housing and related supportive services to improve quality of life and health outcomes for people affected by HIV/AIDS. While at the sites students worked to improve the quality of the facilities at Doorways and interacted directly with residents to learn more about their struggles with HIV/AIDS.

Native American Youth Development

The Cheyenne River Youth Project: Eagle Butte, SD (Winter 2016)

The Cheyenne River Youth Project utilizes grassroots initiatives to provide vital youth programming and family services to the Cheyenne River community. The site deals primarily with Native American issues, with a secondary focus on youth development. As it is an after school program students spent their time at the site with youth by organizing, cleaning, and participating in activities such as Passion for Fashion, College Night, Blanket Distributions, and Basketball Tournaments.

Prisoner Empowerment

Prison Entrepreneurship Program: Dallas, TX (Spring 2017)

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program provides resources and real-world values-based business skills to inmates in order to deliver the nation's best outcomes for re-entry into society.  Their entrepreneurship boot camp and re-entry programs have helped prevent recidivism, maximize self-sufficiency, and transform lives. Students were able to help inmates develop interview skills, help with a clothing drive, and participate in other projects. They also learned more about the program’s impact on Dallas and the surrounding community.

Refugee and Immigrant Resettlement

Center for Refugees and Immigrants: Nashville, TN (Spring 2016)

CRIT helps refugees and immigrants in the greater Nashville area lead self-sufficient and integrated lives in a welcoming and inclusive community. ASB participants worked with CRIT staff with various projects in the agricultural and office facilities, and helped out with the CRIT after school program. Students got the chance to learn more about immigration and refugee resettlement, which is a very relevant global topic currently. CRIT was one of our most popularly ranked sites in applications.

Refugee Resettlement

Kentucky Refugee Ministries: Louisville, KY (POP 2016, Winter 2016, Spring 2017)

The Kentucky Refugee Ministries is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing resettlement services to refugees to promote self-sufficiency and successful integration into the community. Participants learned about the services offered to refugees such as locating housing, English as a second language classes, job preparedness, and cultural orientation classes. Participants supported some of those services offered and gained a greater understanding of refugee life in Kentucky.

Rights for the Blind

World Services for the Blind: Little Rock, AK (Winter 2015)

World Services for the Blind works to empower blind and visually impaired adults so that they may lead more independent lives. Students worked closely with one of the maintenance coordinators of the facility and helped them create a more functional and pleasing space for the workers and students by painting and cleaning.

Sustainability and Arts

Arts & Scraps / Focus: HOPE: Detroit, MI (Spring 2017)

Arts & Scraps is a nonprofit organization that reimagines recycled industrial materials, inspiring people of all ages to think, create, and learn. Their target audience is children living in low income areas as well as individuals with disabilities. Each year, Arts & Scraps recycles 28 tons of materials, serving 275,000 children by assisting 3,300 community organizations and classrooms. While at the site, students helped promote recycling and work on art projects with the children.

Focus: HOPE is a nonprofit organization that pledges intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice. They provide programs such as education and youth development, center for working families, community revitalization, and a community food bank. Students helped with food packaging and education / youth development.

Sustainability and Urban Farming

Earthworks Urban Farm: Detroit, MI (Spring 2016)

Earthworks Urban Farm is a certified organic farm that seeks to build a just, beautiful food system through education, inspiration, and community development. While working at the farm students helped prep for planting in the spring, and learned about food justice and how it affects the surrounding community in Detroit.

Sustainability in Appalachia

Seedleaf and Salamander Springs: Lexington, KY (Spring 2016)

Seedleaf and Salamander Springs both work to promote sustainable living within Appalachia. While at these sites students helped with facility improvement as well as agriculture. They also learned about energy consumption issues, food and housing issues, and permaculture all specific to Appalachia.

Wildlife Rescue

SC Cares: Georgetown, SC (Spring 2016)

SC CARES is a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center, and educational animal sanctuary that provides a no-kill/no-breed haven for abandoned and abused exotic animals. While working at the shelter students helped to maintain the facilities and learned about the dangers faced by abused and neglected animals in South Carolina.

Youth Empowerment

Pathfinders: Milwaukee, WI (Winter 2015, Winter 2016)

Pathfinders is a comprehensive service provider for homeless, throwaway, and at-risk youth. Students worked on cleaning, painting, and donation sorting projects. Volunteers also helped prepare the center ready for the holidays by setting up decorations and baking over 200 cookies.

Please reload

Our trips explore a wide range of social issues. Read about all of our trips from previous years below.

© 2020 by Northwestern Alternative Student Breaks. Proudly created with

  • Facebook - Grey Circle