Volunteer with city locals, Repair the World Fellows, and the people living in the communities who are driving change. Repair believes in locally-led service that meets community-expressed needs: when your group spends an Alternative Break with Repair, they serve with organizations that meet community needs because they’re community-driven, creating true impact.
Join Alternative Breaks
Research has shown Alternative Breaks can be a key entry point into a lifetime of work dedicated to social change. Let’s make sure students and young adults across the country get to that point.
Repair the World’s Alternative Breaks are immersive programs that provide participants with hands-on volunteer experiences, contextual education, and reflection about the most pressing social issues, and a first look at how local, community-driven service can be the seeds of change. Join us for your alternative break, and make more than memories: make impact.
Service alone is great, but service with reflection and education is a step towards changing the world. Alternative Break participants reflect on each service opportunity in facilitated learnings led by Repair’s Program Staff and Fellows, learning about the social contexts that lead to why they’re volunteering, and what Jewish values, history, text, and lessons can offer in understanding the service experience.
Alternative Breaks offer participants a chance to see a major US city through the eyes of not only a local, but of someone part of a community. With Repair Fellows as their guides, participants walk through the street and stop to meet community members with Fellows, they learn about the neighborhood, they see how different service partners work together to address needs of community members in the same few blocks. For participants thinking about what cities they might call home in the future, Alternative Breaks offer a meaningful look at top American cities.
The Alternative Break Experience: Meet some of our incredible service partners you'll be volunteering with!
Join us in Baltimore, Maryland
Groups in Baltimore have a myriad of options of where to volunteer and what to do! Join us for urban farming to combat local food injustice with Real Food Farm or the Duncan Street Miracle Garden; participate in beautification efforts with The 6th Branch or Baltimore Recreation & Parks to keep our city green; serve dinner with dignity to people experiencing homelessness with Weinberg Housing and Resource Center or The Baltimore Station; and many more options.
Join us in Brooklyn, New York:
Groups in Brooklyn have the opportunity to serve with our incredible partners like Book Through Bars (pictured), the Metropolitan Council on Housing, The Youth Farm, St. John’s Bread & Life, The Campaign Against Hunger, and Hunger Free America.
Join us in Detroit, Michigan:
Groups in Detroit have the opportunity to serve with our incredible partners like All Saints Literacy Center, Brilliant Detroit, The Georgia Street Community Collective, Gleaner’s Community Food Bank, and Project Healthy Community.
Join us in Harlem, New York:
We can’t wait to see you in Harlem! Pictured are some of our 2018-19 NYC-based Fellows volunteering at Harlem Grown, whose mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition. At our Harlem site, we have a robust set of partnerships with multiple different community-based agencies. AB participants might get a chance to with the senior program at the Community Kitchen and Pantry, re-organize and serve clients at the Mandala Cafe, or volunteer with Reading Partners to tutor a student in one of their under-resourced schools.
Join us in Miami, Florida:
Miami is currently working with 15 service partners ranging from music classes in after school programs to urban gardening in under-resourced communities. AB participants will work with our service partners to fulfill the needs they have for special projects that can only be accomplished by large groups. In the past we have had AB participants paint a media center, clean out a classroom, sort donations, and clean up the beaches in Miami. With all of our service we learn about the organization we are working with, where the need comes from in the first place, and how the service relates to Jewish values.
Join us in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:
In Pittsburgh, join us as we dig into service with some of our incredible partners: Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, Assemble, Higher Achievement, Circles Greaters Pittsburgh, Open Hand Ministries, School 2 Career, Just Harvest, 412 Food Rescue, Grow Pittsburgh, Garfield Community Farms, Enright Community Garden, BUGS, Sankofa Village Garden. With learning and reflection led by our Food and Education Justice experts throughout the trip, you’ll have a powerful and meaningful experience.
From your campus to Repair the World: How it works
Please fill out the brief form to to let us know you would like to join Alternative Breaks.
Fill out an interest form to let us know more about you and your group’s Alternative Break needs!
Get connected with Repair staff!
Be on the lookout for communication from a local Repair staffer to start planning your Alternative Break.
Get involved locally!
Prepare your group for their experience by getting involved locally with service organizations, collaborating with Repair nationally and using our programming resource center.
Once you have filled out our interest form, you will be contacted by a local Repair staffer to begin planning your experience!
Designing effective and meaningful service projects, that provide an opportunity to serve alongside Repair the World Fellows on their long-term projects. Repair will create an customized educational experience that fits your group’s needs by collaborating with your leader and working with local fellows to ensure that the service project is impactful to both the community and your group.
We ask that groups arrange their own travel to the selected Repair the World community. Groups are also responsible for booking their own local logistics, housing and transportation, but will be guided and provided recommendations by the local Repair staffer.
Please note: each AB participant is required to complete and sign the Repair the World Alternative Break Release and Waiver of Liability.
Once you select the Repair community you will serve with, a local Repair staff will provide a list of recommendations for your group that align with your budget.
Let us know what works for you! We’re open to various times of the year. We typically schedule for 3-7 day-long trips during March, April and May, but can work with your availability.
We recommend arriving in the early afternoon of your first day so that you have time to get settled before beginning programming with an introduction to Repair and the trip ahead that first evening.
YES! A Repair staffer will be with you throughout the service and learning components of your program, and will be with your group for all service and learning components of your trip. You should also feel free to invite the Repair the World Fellows to any local explorations or after-service touring you plan to do!
We work with groups that have a variety of needs related to Jewish living and are delighted to create an experience that works for your group.
No problem! Discussing social justice through a Jewish lens with groups of diverse backgrounds is what we DO! We are happy to work with you on the content for the trip to make sure it is accessible and meaningful to your group.
Repair leaders work closely with your staff member to determine the schedule and content for the time you are with us. We can share sample itineraries in each city to help shape what your group will do with us.
Funding is currently only available for Hillel groups that are looking to travel to a Repair the World community. If you are a Hillel professional click here.
If you are looking to travel domestically to a non-Repair the World community, or internationally, we are unfortunately not able to provide funding at this time. We are happy to work with your staff on programming resources which can be found here.
If you choose to take an alternative in one of our communities, we can offer you the programming at half the actual costs of running the program! If you need additional financial support, we suggest fundraising directly in your own community and/or reaching out to local federations and college funds that may support this type of programming.
For questions about the process and funding limits, please contact Paula Harlan at [email protected]
As a Hillel Professional, you will work directly with Paula on all your funding needs. All grants and reimbursements are handled though Hillel International.
When you contact Paula, you will also be prompted to fill out an interest form, to tell us a little more about your desired experience within a Repair the World city. After filling this out, a Repair the World local staffer will contact you to start the program planning process.
You will be contacted by a local Repair the World staffer after filling out the interest form who will work with you to ….. Create a transformative and impactful AB experience! In partnership with the Repair staff you will meet the Fellow assigned to your group. Together through phone calls, emails, and zoom meetings you will be able to collaboratively make the itinerary and the content. Staff and Fellows will bring their local expertise as they build out a custom itinerary tailored to your groups wants and needs.
Repair the World is proud of Act Now Houston, a direct service program launched in partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston and the Leadership Coalition for Jewish Service, facilitated by Repair the World. Created in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Act Now Houston focused on bringing groups to serve side-by-side with Houstonians in rebuilding efforts. Starting in August 2019, Act Now Houston has transitioned to being fully locally based, operating out of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. If you’re interested in attending an Alternative Break in Houston (there is still so much rebuilding to be done!) please visit our friends at the Federation here. You can also follow them on Facebook here.