Author Archives: J. Ashley Laux

Leader Applications Open: Middlebury Alternative Break Trips (MAlt) February Break 2014 service-learning trips!

MAlt is Middlebury’s alternative break program. In 2013-2014 MAlt will offer three domestic and two international student-led service trips over February break.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Middlebury Alternative Break Trip Leader?
MAlt trip leaders are responsible for trip logistics, group dynamics, education, and reflection before, during, and after the break.  Logistical responsibilities include helping to recruit and select participants, choosing appropriate worksites for the trip’s theme, initiating and maintaining ongoing contact with worksite coordinators to ensure rewarding service work for both participants and the community partner, drafting and maintaining a budget, creating a daily itinerary, arranging travel plans (e.g., plane reservations, car rentals, College van reservations, accommodations, etc.), and planning meals. Trip leaders work closely with MAlt tri-chairs and the MAlt advisor (Ashley Calkins in the Center for Education in Action, EIA).  Trip leaders are also responsible for coordinating group fundraising efforts and ensuring that fundraising goals (which may be substantial) are met.  Please Note: Leading a MAlt trip is a rewarding but demanding opportunity. You should expect to devote a significant amount of time to your trip pre-departure, including some level of research and planning during the summer.

Information Session: If you have a great idea for a trip or are interested in creating one, attend the MAlt leader info session on April 11th, 7pm in BiHall 219.

Application Information: Complete this application with a co-leader and e-mail it to, by Wednesday, April 24th. MAlt trips can be domestic or international, but this year we will also be looking for strong applications in the New England region. This past year MAlt traveled to El Paso, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, New York City, and Tennessee.

Here’s how some MAlters described their trips in one word: community, warmth, eye-opening, growth, intense, challenging, humbling, real, soulful, marvelous, robust, refreshing, fantastic, and unforgettable.

Questions? Visit go/malt or contact co-chairs Charlotte Zelle and Maya Neria at

Apply for the Spring Middlebury Alternative Break Trip!

Interested in cross-cultural experiences, education, human rights, or community service? Student service initiative Friends for Burma will be leading a Middlebury Alternative Break (MAlt) trip to do in-depth work with the Burmese refugee community in Burlington. Students will stay with Burmese families and do educational projects including teaching English, cooking, citizenship lessons, and activities with the kids.

Application: Spring 2013 Mini-MAlt Participant Application
Application Due Monday, March 4th via email to Forest Jarvis, Selected participants will be notified by Friday, March 8th
Trip dates: March 23 – 26.
Participant Fee: $25
Questions? Contact Forest Jarvis MAlt participants and Burmese community 2



Daffodil Days are here!

Welcome spring and support the American Cancer Society by purchasing daffodils!

Order your bouquets at go/boxoffice by Tuesday, March 5th!

These beautiful spring flowers will brighten anyone’s day, and represent hope to many cancer patients.  With Daffodil Days, an ACS annual fundraiser, you can make a difference!  Order daffodils to help the ACS further its research, education, advocacy, and service programs.

Gifts of Hope and Bear Hugs for Hope will be delivered to patients directly by ACS. To order daffodils for yourself, a friend or colleague, a cancer survivor you can order online with a credit card at the Box Office. An email will be sent out about when flowers will arrive at the Box Office in McCullough the week of March 18th.

Addison County Poverty Internships: Stay local. Make a difference.

10 week paid internships with the Open Door Clinic, John Graham Homeless Shelter, Addison County Council Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Info Session: Wed. 2/27 4:30p.m. EIA, Adirondack House
Application Deadline: March 11
Apply on MOJO: Go/mojo
More information listed here.
Questions? Contact Ashley Calkins,

Giving Trees: Pick up a tree 11/26 – 11/28

Help sponsor a local child whose family cannot afford to buy presents for the holiday season through the Giving Trees program, in collaboration with the local organization HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects).
Here’s how:

• You can sponsor a tree by yourself, with a friend, as a department or in any other way you create

• To try to ensure equity among children in the same family, we ask that you consider spending a minimum amount of $50 per tree – but please don’t let this discourage you from participating! We strongly encourage you to team up with friends and co-workers to maximize the fun and impact of each Giving Tree!

• Do NOT wrap gifts. Please make sure that all the gifts belonging to a tree are together in one bag, unwrapped and unmarked.

You can pick up a tree (paper cut-out) from Civic Engagement programs in the Center for Education in Action (Adirondack House Rm. 210, upstairs, follow signs) on Monday, November 26th, Tuesday November 27th or Wednesday, November 28th between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.! The tree will have all the information you need: the age and gender of the child/adult, what his/her clothing needs are, and a wish he/she has.

• Gifts must be brought back to the Center for Education in Action on Monday, December 10th between 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

If you have any questions, please e-mail

Ashley Calkins ‘06
Community Engagement Coordinator
Center for Education in Action: Careers, Fellowships, Civic Engagement
Middlebury College | Middlebury, VT 05753
802.443.3099 |

Support Addison County Families in Need of Housing

Join the Volunteer Staff of the Charter House Winter Shelter

The Charter House Winter Shelter opened on November 1 and is home to 4 adults and 6 children. There is a critical need for more volunteers to help staff the facility 24/7. Working in pairs, volunteers typically serve 3-4 hour shifts at times of their choosing.

To volunteer
1) Fill out and submit the volunteer form Charter House Volunteer Application
2) Attend a volunteer training. Dates and times for training sessions for new volunteers are listed below. Training takes about 90 minutes.

Saturday, November 10 9:00 am Location: Charter House (27 North Pleasant Street, Middlebury)
Monday, November 12 9:00 am Location: Charter House (27 North Pleasant Street, Middlebury)
Monday, November 12 4:30 p.m. Location: on-campus in Ross B11 (downstairs from Ross Dining Hall)

To learn more or to request alternative training times, please contact Adam Schiff ’15 ( or Anoushka Sinha ’13 (

Mentoring at Middlebury Union High School

Interested in education? Enjoy making a difference for others?

Consider being a mentor for a local high school teenager! Middlebury Union High School is ready to kick off its mentoring program, which will pair Middlebury College students with local high school students of Middlebury Union High School. College students will provide support in helping students graduate high school and assist them in building their own post-graduation plans.

Attend an interest meeting about the program on Thursday, November 5th at 5:30 pm in Hillcrest 103. Questions? Please contact Nestor Martinez at 802.443.3010 or at

Applications due Oct. 10th: Middlebury Alternative Break Trips February 2013

Announcing the Middlebury Alternative Break (MAlt) Service Trips for February Break 2013!

This year’s trips will focus on border and immigration issues (El Paso, TX), cultural and environmental awareness (Cherokee Nation), conservation in El Yunque National Forest (Puerto Rico), women’s empowerment (Dominican Republic), and the US prison system (New York).

The application—please read directions carefully!—is due by Wednesday, October 10th at 5:00 pm to Ashley Calkins in Room 210 of the Center for Education in Action (EIA) on the second floor of Adirondack House.

MAlt participant application: Participant application 2013

Fundraisers from now through J-term ensure that those who need financial assistance to fund their trips will be able to participate (you don’t need to be on financial aid from the College to receive MAlt financial assistance). Each participant must pay at least 25% of the cost—but you have until mid-January to do it! All costs below are estimates and will be finalized soon—cost includes transportation, lodging, and food. MAlt is a perfect opportunity to get involved with rewarding and meaningful service work during break as well as a great way to connect to a new community!

Questions? Check out this “Intro to MAlt 2012-2013”, or e-mail MAlt co-chairs Charlotte Zelle ( or Maya Neria (

Trip Descriptions:
Conserving a Tropical Ecosystem Treasure (Puerto Rico): We will focus on environmental conservation efforts in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque Rainforest, a tropical rainforest with a wide diversity of flora and fauna including many species that occur nowhere else in the world. Activities include forest maintenance projects and environmental education projects to support the El Yunque National Forest Service’s efforts to educate the thousands of tourists who visit El Yunque every year. The trip also involves engaging with researchers in the rainforest to learn the effects of climate change and land use in El Yunque.
Trip Leaders: Justin Koatz ‘13 and Maggie Khuu ‘13
Approximate Cost: $500

Examining a Broken Justice System (New York City): To better understand the complexities of the current U.S. retributive justice system, we will visit organizations in New York City related to the pre- and post-incarceration process. Topics will include juvenile sentencing, education, and alternative methods to incarceration. By working with representatives from non-profits, legislatures and juvenile halls, we will examine all steps of the incarceration and re-entry process through a variety of lenses. We hope that through this trip, participants will challenge their preconceived notions about today’s prison system and continue related service work in the future.
Trip Leaders: Lydia Gordon ’15 and Maya Neria ’15
Approximate Cost:$250

Breaking Through Preconceptions (Cherokee Nation): Rediscover history when you visit the land of the Cherokee near the Smokey Blue Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. Immerse yourself in their culture and traditions while passing on your own by interacting with the elderly at the Senior Center and tutoring and playing games with youth at the Recreation Center. Learn from members of the community about the issues they face as a nation within a nation and take part in an ongoing effort to maintain the cultural land of the Cherokee “where eagles nest and bears still roam.”
Trip leaders:Mika Tan ’15 and Emily Hoang ’15
Approximate cost: $700

Different Voices, New Perspectives Along Mexico/US Border (El Paso): Students will travel to El Paso, Texas, a city that shares a border with Mexico, living and working at a shelter for undocumented migrants. We will assist in the daily running of the shelter, attend border education workshops, and meet the many faces of migration, from activists and migrants to government and law enforcement officials.
Trip Leaders: Amanda Pertierra ‘13 and Hannah Postel ’13
Approximate cost: $775

Empowering Local Communities (Dominican Republic): We will work with the Mariposa DR Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to empower women through various educational and health programs. The Mariposa DR Foundation is committed to helping children, especially girls, gain access to quality education and to provide to provide girls with a comfortable environment where they can develop a strong sense of self. During this trip, we will help to develop English programs and work on sustainability initiatives in the community.
Trip Leaders: Rana Abdelhamid ‘15 and Lily Ghebrai ‘15
Approximate cost: $875

Apply now: October Break Alternative Break Trip

Middlebury Alternative Break (MAlt) Service Trip for October Break 2012!
Merck Forest & Farmland Center

Applications due Sept. 28
Join us for the fifth annual October MAlt break trip to breathtakingly beautiful Merck Forest & Farmland Center in southern Vermont at the height of the foliage season led by Tshering Yudon ‘13 and Teddy Pendergast ‘13. Merck Forest’s mission is to teach and demonstrate the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland. Our work will likely include trail maintenance in the forest and helping with the harvest. We will be camping (sleeping in a cabin) and cooking together as a group in fall temperatures ranging from 40-60 degrees during the day and 30-50 degrees at night. It’s about a two-mile hike into the site.

We’ll depart Saturday ~12pm, Oct. 13, (leaving after the Dalai Lama talk is over) and return late afternoon on Monday, Oct. 15. Camping gear can be provided!

Issue: Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture
Cost per person: $30 (financial aid is available if necessary)
Questions? Contact Ashley Calkins, Community Engagement Coordinator, EIA
Application Deadline: Friday, September 28th to Teddy Pendergast via email at
See attached application: Merck participant application 2012

9/19 MiddAction Fair: volunteer in the local community!

Looking for new opportunities, or want to make a difference? Have a passion and want to discover ways to continue exploring it? Come to the Fall MiddAction Fair to get some information on ways to do this and more!

At the fair, you’ll get a chance to meet representatives from over 50 non-profit organizations and student service groups to learn how you can get involved with our local community and our wider world. The MiddAction Fair will provide you with the opportunity to engage directly in local activism, volunteering, social justice, and service-learning activities in areas such as education, literacy, youth mentoring, environment, emergency services, public health, poverty, hunger, housing, and much more.

Date: September 19, 2012, 6 – 7:30 PM
Location: McCoullough Social Space
Questions? Contact Ashley Calkins ’06, Community Engagement Coordinator,, 802.443.3099.