Activities may include serving in a meal program for the homeless, working on a Habitat for Humanity construction project, helping with a summer program for local refugee children, or performing environmental service work. Most OA groups stay together in a community center or church “camping inside” in the area where they are volunteering.
Construction and Rebuilding
This construction-minded service experience is a chance to help build a house for a family looking to break into the often elusive world of home-ownership, or to renovate a home for a low-income family or individual. We could be putting up drywall, painting, landscaping, roofing...who can say? There may also be other small construction projects at different area non-profits. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.
Food Justice and Farming
Students will travel to a community farm in Schoharie County to volunteer their time and to learn about the process of providing fresh, healthy foods to an urban population that lacks access to them. This will be a mildly active trip that will explore the issues of poverty, health, and environmental justice. Outdoor camping.
Hunger and Homelessness
Along Eagle Street in Utica, within two or three blocks of each other, there are several human service agencies: Hope House, a free meal program for the homeless and hungry; Health Friends, making prescription drugs available for low-income families; New Horizons, a shelter for teenage girls who are on their own; Abraham House, a hospice care facility for the terminally ill; and Emmaus House, a homeless shelter for women and their children. We'll be doing various service projects among “Hospitality Row” agencies. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.
This trip will involve a mix of community service experiences- from working with residents at Upstate Cerebral Palsy to volunteering at a community theater or helping out at the Veteran's Outreach Center. Students will be based in Utica, NY, and will have an opportunity to explore the communities surrounding Hamilton College. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.
Cornhill Community Building
The Cornhill area of Utica is home to a large number of low-income children and adults, but thanks to the work of agencies such as Johnson Park Center, it’s now a thriving place of positive change with youth mentoring and tutoring programs, transitional housing for homeless families, job-training and placement for women, including ex-offenders. In Cornhill, we will be helping with various programs including helping the agency prepare for their annual “Say No to Drugs Party,” working in their food pantry, and general housing and neighborhood beautification projects. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.
Youth Mentoring and Engagement
Trip participants will work with Utica youth (elementary to middle school) who are part of the area's large refugee community, creating day-camp type activities (crafts, music, sports) on one of the days at an area church, and then accompanying the kids to the church’s beautiful retreat center on the second day. There will also be an opportunity to visit the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and participate in a conversation class with adult refugees from Myanmar, Somalia, and other parts of the world. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.
Serving the Environment
Students will perform environmental service work in the beautiful Adirondacks while learning about its history and visiting one of the Great Camps. Tasks may include trail-building, landscaping, outdoor clean-up, painting, and the like. Short, low-level hikes will be included. Outdoor camping.
Teen Center Turnaround
Students will work with Utica teens and the staff of the Safe Schools program, helping to prep and refurbish the local teen center for the upcoming academic year. In addition, the group will help out at the Safe Schools’ Build-a-Bike warehouse, where donated bicycles are repaired and given away to area youth. This trip will be a combination of working with teens and working together as a group on small renovation and upkeep projects. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.