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Community Involvement Center

Mailing Address for Couriers:
Rice University
6100 Main Street, MS-200
Houston, TX  77005

Mailing Address for U.S.P.S.:
PO Box 1892
MS-200
Houston, TX  77251-1892

Campus Physical Location:
Rice Memorial Center
2nd Floor
Center for Civic Engagement Suite

service@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-4970
Fax: 713-348-5885

The Mile High Mission: Overcoming Disability

Alternative Spring Break
Winter Park and Littleton, CO
Saturday, February 25 - Sunday, March 4, 2012

General Trip Information and Application Timeline
There will be 13 spaces available for participants on the trip. For more information on the trip or application process, please contact the student Site Leaders, Kevin Shen (k.shen.7@gmail.com) and Natalie Lazarescou (natalie.lazarescou@gmail.com).

Applications can be accessed on-line at the Community Involvement Center's web site (http://cic.rice.edu) by clicking on the "Alternative Spring Break Participant Applications" link. You can also view photos from past trips and read personal testimonies from past participants on the same site. Completed applications are due no later than 5:00pm on Monday, October 31, 2011. Participant selection will occur on Monday, November 7, and applicants will be notified of their status by 5:00pm on Wednesday, November 9. Applicant interviews for this trip will be conducted on Saturday, November 5 (6:30-8:30pm) and Sunday, November 6 (6:00-8:00pm). Applicants will be able to indicate their availability for interviews on their applications.

By 5:00pm on Friday, November 18, those selected to participate will need to confirm their involvement by submitting a non-refundable registration fee ($350.00), liability release, emergency contact and insurance information, a signed copy of the Conditions of Acceptance, and 10 letters of solicitation. Details on all these components will be discussed at the mandatory team meeting.

All selected participants are required to attend a mandatory team meeting on Sunday, November 13, 9:00-11:30pm. Please hold this time on your schedule and notify Sarah Hodgkinson (sarah.hodgkinson@rice.edu) at the time of your application if you have a conflict with this meeting. Those that miss the meeting without prior consent will forfeit their place in the ASB program.

Registration Fee and Scholarships
The registration fee includes transportation, housing, meals, materials required for service, some organized group activities, and fees paid to the host agency. In most cases, this registration fee does not even fully cover the cost of transportation to the site. The bulk of the trip expenses will be covered through team and individual fundraising; all participants are required to assist with fundraising activities. Projects may include bake sales, car washes, stadium clean-ups, and other creative ideas. In addition, participants will be required to assist with personal solicitations to friends, family members, co-workers, religious communities, civic organizations, grant funds, and other sources. A small amount of additional personal spending money should be taken for souvenirs, meals on the road, and optional activities.

While this is inexpensive for a week-long service experience, we do not want cost to be a prohibiting factor. If you are concerned about funding your participation, please indicate your desire to apply for a partial scholarship by contacting Sarah Hodgkinson (sarah.hodgkinson@rice.edu) before the application deadline (5:00pm on Monday, October 31). Late requests will not be considered.

Trip Locale - Winter Park and Littleton, CO
Although disability affects every community, the destination of this trip is important specifically because it unites both of the agencies we’ll work with. The NSCD and the CCB are both so unique in their approach to working with disability and so established throughout the country that the trip is made more effective by going all the way to Colorado to study the social issue. Littleton is a quiet suburb just ten miles from downtown Denver, a city teeming with great restaurants and a rocking music scene against the backdrop of the breathtaking Rockies. Winter Park is relatively nearby, a tiny town that hosts the Winter Park Resort that, at 9,100 feet, straddles the continental divide.

Host Agency - National Sports Center for the Disabled and Colorado Center for the Blind
The NSCD is one of the largest outdoor therapeutic recreation agencies in the world. Each year, thousands of children and adults with disabilities take to the ski slopes, mountain trails and golf courses to learn more about sports - and themselves. With specially trained staff and its own adaptive equipment lab, the NSCD teaches a variety of winter and summer sports and activities to individuals with almost any physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral diagnosis. The mission of the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) is to provide quality outdoor sports and therapeutic recreation programs that positively impact the lives of people with physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral challenges. The Colorado Center for the Blind is a world-renowned training center located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Littleton, Colorado, about 13 miles south of Denver. Since its establishment in 1988, the Colorado Center has employed innovative teaching techniques and a philosophy that continues to have far-reaching effects on the lives of blind people, taking them to new heights of independence. Sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the Colorado Center training techniques and teaching methods are based on the positive philosophy of the NFB which states that, “with proper training and opportunity, blind people can compete on terms of equality with their sighted peers.”

Service
Our service as a whole will focus on the theme of disability, with a focus on visual disability. During the first half of the week we will be in Winter Park, Colorado, where the NSCD has a well-established ski program for the disabled. There we will provide the center with any assistance they may need. Volunteers will primarily be helping clients with a wide range of disabilities to learn how to ski, providing motivation and support along the way. In the second half of the week, we will head to Littleton, Colorado to visit the Colorado Center for the Blind. There we will experience a day in the life of a student at the CCB, and learn what it takes to become independent as a blind individual. We will also work on a couple projects related to the maintenance and improvement of the center. Overall, participants should expect to have a fun and educational experience. Through our service, we will gain a better understanding of blindness and disability in general, as well as make many new friends!

Accommodations
During our time in Winter Park, we will be staying at the Snow Mountain Ranch, a branch of the YMCA of the Rockies. Our rooms will have enough refrigerator space for us to eat at least two meals a day at the lodge. We likely will also visit the inexpensive YMCA cafeteria located nearby. We will spend three nights in Littleton, CO., where we will stay at the Littleton United Methodist Church. Although we will be sleeping in sleeping bags, the converted parsonage is very comfortable. The kitchen is large, the living room is perfect for deep group reflection, and there’s a basketball court outside! In Littleton we will also cook most of our meals ourselves. Both locations have hot showers.

Activities
While in the Denver area, we will have the time to explore the great cultural opportunities the city can offer! Denver is home to several museums, including the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Molly Brown House Museum, and the Colorado History Museum. The 16th Street Outdoor Mall is one of Denver’s more popular daytime destinations. The city is also known for its live music and interesting restaurants. These attractions will provide a better understanding of the culture and history of the area in which we will volunteer.

Health
Upon acceptance, participants will be required to complete a medical questionnaire. Examples of the kinds of questions that may be asked are as follows:

  • Have you had any chronic conditions requiring medical care?
  • Will you need any special medications or medical care while on this trip?
  • Are you allergic to any foods or medicines?
  • Do you have any other dietary restrictions?

Conditions of Acceptance
Although we do not want to discourage anyone from applying, we want to ensure that the conditions of participation are clear. Please take a moment to read the conditions below.

  1. Participants in the Alternative Spring Break program are expected to exhibit sensitivity to the host culture; observe local rules and laws; and abide by the philosophy, structure, and regulations of our host agencies.
  2. A primary goal of the program is learning. Participants are expected to prepare for the trip by completing the packet of readings provided by the Community Involvement Center and attending pre-trip orientation meetings. In addition, participants will be required to contribute to a group journal and participate in-group reflection while on the trip.
  3. The Community Involvement Center will assist in arranging reasonable accommodations on-site and arranging service work to be done in conjunction with the host agencies. Nevertheless, the exact nature and conditions of these accommodations and work cannot be guaranteed. Many of the conditions we expect at home (i.e. hot water, daily showers, washers/dryers, privacy, etc.) may not be available.
  4. The participants will be responsible for participating in all fundraising activities, including personal solicitations.
  5. It is the participant's responsibility to obtain a passport and any necessary visas (if required for the trip) before he/she goes and to bring his/her own spending money for free-time activities, a few meals, and other personal expenses.
  6. It is the participant's responsibility to insure he/she is covered by a travel/health insurance plan for the duration of the program, which includes emergency medical evacuation.
  7. The participants are responsible for making all decisions regarding appropriate health precautions.
  8. Participants will not consume/use alcohol or illegal drugs, smoke, or engage in sexual activity while on the trip.
  9. Participants must at all times be with another member of the group. In general, activities outside the scope of the program will not be accommodated and participants should not make outside commitments.
  10. All participants are required to follow all safety guidelines established by the Community Involvement Center while on an Alternative Spring Break trip, as well as during travel to and from the site.
  11. In addition, following the trip, group members will be responsible for presentations and information sessions to be given to the Rice community in the fall semester.
  12. Once accepted into the program and the registration fee is paid, participants are financially obligated to the full purchase price of their plane ticket, agency fees, and/or any other pre-paid expenses if they drop out for any reason, since these are non-refundable and will likely cost more than the initial registration fee.

Continue to the Application