Type of Service
Caritas of Austin
Front Steps Homeless Shelter
Site Leader Description #1
I’m Aarti and I’m a third year from South Riding, Virginia studying Cognitive Science with a Biology minor. In between planning the best ASB trip ever, I’m involved in club running, volunteer and serve as a Program Director with Madison House for Med Services, and am in a sorority! I love dad jokes, the state of Utah, wearing shorts to run when it’s 45 degrees, listening to every Taylor Swift album but Reputation, and watching copious amounts of New Girl, Scandal, and Criminal Minds. I went on last year’s ASB trip to John’s Island, SC and had the best time with the best people, and am incredibly excited to be leading this year’s trip to Austin with one of my best friends!
Site Leader Description #2
Hey guys, I’m Jillian! I’m a third-year from Orange County, California and am in the School of Nursing, with a minor in Politics. I went to the Grand Canyon with ASB last year and absolutely loved it, and I can’t wait to lead with my roommate Aarti this year! I’m really interested in service learning and getting a unique perspective on the issues facing the people of Austin, as well as creating a fun environment for you guys. I have 122 Spotify playlists and my most listened to song of the decade was Mr. Brightside, so you KNOW our trip’s gonna have the best tunes (I also know and love every Taylor Swift song by heart, including Reputation 😤 @Aarti). Apart from ASB, I’m involved in academic research, Madison House, a sorority, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and telling everyone I meet that I can beat them at MarioKart.
We will be flying out of the Charlottesville airport on Saturday morning, and landing in Austin in the afternoon. We will be staying at an AirBnB and renting cars, in order to prevent unnecessary contact with others and making it easier to social distance as needed. For meals, we will be grocery shopping the first day to get food for our packed lunches during volunteering and also cooking three dinners (Jillian makes a dank pesto tortellini spread). We will also be going out to eat a few times and exploring all the Tex-Mex/BBQ the city has to offer! At the end of the week, we’ll be flying back from Austin to Charlottesville, landing on Saturday night and giving us plenty of time to get ready to go back to school.
No experience with human services volunteering or prior knowledge on homelessness needed! Just an open mind, enthusiastic energy, and willingness to tolerate the Phineas and Ferb Soundtrack.
In order to expose ourselves to the multifaceted issue of homelessness, we will be serving at three different sites to get a more well-rounded experience and understand various perspectives. First, we will be serving lunch at Caritas of Austin and learning about their long-term case management approach as well as providing immediate nutritional assistance through daily counter lunch services. Next, we will be working for two days at Front Steps, a community shelter which provides emergency shelter and supportive services to those experiencing homelessness. The last two days we will be serving at Community First Village, a tiny home village outside of the city that provides affordable, permanent housing and helps lift residents out of chronic homelessness. Volunteering will mostly be in the mornings and early afternoons, leaving us time to take the rest of the day to discuss our experiences, rest, and explore Austin!
We are HYPE to explore the city of Austin and are super open to doing activities you guys are interested in! Right now, we’re planning on exploring the city’s restaurants and shops around Sixth Street and the Capitol, as well as doing outdoor activities such as hiking and a guided sunset kayak tour. If you want to stay fit, Aarti will happily go on a run with you (#joinUVAClubRunning), while Jillian would be thrilled to stay inside and watch The Office all afternoon.
Homelessness is a profound and deep-seated issue in Austin, and it is critical for the city to work to improve the conditions of homeless residents and those living below the poverty line. The number of people who are homeless in Austin has dramatically increased in the last decade. A recent survey in January of 2019 found that around 2,250 people are facing homelessness in Austin, which is a 5% increase from the last year. Austin faces issues such as gentrification and a scarcity of affordable housing; these are issues that affect communities nationwide and are also prevalent right in Charlottesville. This trip aims to inform participants on these issues in the Austin area and the broader, systemic issues that lead to homelessness, as well as expose them to a wide range of current efforts to eradicate homelessness in Austin.