Breaks With Impact, Citizenship Engagement for Middle and High School Students

(Photo: Vol ALX)

By: Marion Brunken

Alexandria, VA – Did you know? Only one in five youths feel valued by adults in society. The 2025 Cities Children and Youth Master Plan includes research and strategies to strengthen youth. Offering volunteer opportunities is one strategy for achieving this goal.

Breaks with Impact (BWI) is a program for youth that focuses on community engagement. Students in grades 6 through 12 learn about their community’s problems and how to do something about them. Participants will learn about the social issues that Alexandrian residents face and how non-profit organizations address these issues, earning service hours and hands-on service learning.

We use the PARE model, which offers a structured approach to a high-quality KKN experience, encompassing the main components of Preparation, Action, Reflection, and Evaluation. It exposes students to new realities that open their eyes and challenges them Whatthey don’t think they know. We want students to address their discomfort, discuss it in a supportive community, and finally consider how they might live differently because of the experience.

Projects include eliminating invasive species, exploring careers, packing groceries, cleaning up local parks, sorting donations, advocating for pedestrian safety, and learning about mental health. BWI is an opportunity for Participants to engage with nonprofits, municipal agencies, and people from all walks of life as they earn hours of service and explore career paths.

Spring 2023 Information: Registration OPEN for Spring Program Day.

Tuesday, April 4th – Human Services Day

Wednesday, April 5th – Environment Day

Thursday, April 6th – Food Insecurity Day

Why is this important? Children and youth who are involved in community service develop compassion when they learn the value of giving to others. They learn to value what they have and work with others. They learn how to become valued members of their community. Growing up with a greater sense of social responsibility makes young people more likely to volunteer throughout their lives.

Dante, a former participant, enjoys making packages for people who are struggling financially because many people are not getting paid. Another student, Lee, feels good because he is helping people in need. These are just two responses from students who learned about a need in our community and then had the opportunity to volunteer their time to give back.

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For more information about volunteering with Breaks With Impact, visit or e-mail [email protected]. Support volunteerism and donations by visiting

Engagement Opportunity Available Now

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Exploring the Impact of Race in Recognizing and Eliminating Biased Behavior and Training Practices for Volunteers and Volunteer Engagement Professionals – Data shows that approximately 70% of volunteers are white. Those we serve are mostly Black and Brown because of racial injustice. These sessions will explore the social construction of race and how race plays a role in the implicit and explicit biases of people every day. When we can recognize and reflect on our biases as adults, we are better equipped to assess and address instances of bias (explicit or implicit) to ensure a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

FREE Health Fair on March 25 to help uninsured citizens get basic health checks and information on other available resources. Alexandria has many uninsured residents. The fair will provide free screenings (vision, dental, mammograms), as well as provide groceries and other resources. Volunteers are needed throughout the day to assist vendors and visitors, translate into Spanish, and assist with setup and cleanup.

Help Visitors in the New DCHS Building – Greet and guide visitors to the new Department of Human & Community Services (DCHS) building as they enter and discover services. Orientation provided.

Working in a Preschool Class– The Kids & Family Network Center is looking for volunteers to involve children in games and activities.

Volunteer Drivers Needed – At Home in Alexandria is looking for drivers to drive seniors to appointments, grocery stores and social gatherings.

Student Tutor after school – Teach elementary, middle or high school students after school at Community Lodgings.

Student Mentor after school– Community Lodgings are looking for people to mentor small groups of boys or girls, grades 7 – 12, and promote positive youth development.

Career-focused Student Mentors – The ENDependence Center is looking for people to mentor students with disabilities and help them prepare for workplace readiness.

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