Austin, TX

Site Leaders

Sophie Mariam

Hannah Phillips

Type of Service

Human Services

Site Partner(s)

Caritas of Austin

Front Steps Austin



Departure Date


Return Date






Site Leader Description #1

Sophie is a third year from McLean, Virginia majoring in Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law and she is beyond pumped to be leading this year’s trip to Austin. She is also involved with the University Guide Service, Virginia Dance company, serves as a Program Director with Madison house youth mentoring, and is an engagement intern on the Jewish Leadership Council. You can probably catch her telling dad jokes on admissions tours and being a history nerd on the lawn most days. In her free time, Sophie enjoy having picnics and discovering cute doggos on the lawn and brunching her way around Cville. Sophie went on last year’s trip to Austin and walked away with an enhanced understanding of this critical issue that truly exceeded her expectations as well as great memories exploring the city and getting to know and learn from group. She is passionate about increasing the awareness and engagement with issues surrounding poverty in the Charlottesville community, and she is excited to help this year's participants have an awesome experience in Austin!

Site Leader Description #2

Hannah is a third year from Stafford, Virginia studying Economics and Italian. She went on a human services trip to San Francisco during her first year and is super pumped to co-lead the Austin trip this year! Outside of class, Hannah is involved in HooThinks and Camp Kesem, and serves as a program director for Cavs in the Classroom. Hannah enjoys night walks, visits to the SPCA, and adding items to online shopping carts that will never be purchased. She is enthusiastic about ASB’s mission and is excited to reflect on service learning during the break.

Trip Logistics

We will drive up to Northern Virginia the afternoon of March 6th to stay at Sophie’s house for the night before our flight the morning of the 7th. We will fly down from D.C. on Saturday, and check into our Hostil. We will fly back to DC the following Saturday, returning to Sophie’s house to get our cars and head back down to Cville! While in Austin, we will use their public transit system as well as Uber when needed. For meals, we plan to go grocery shopping as a group after we fly in. This will allow us to pack our lunches for while we are doing service, and also cook ourselves some yummy dinners in the hostel some nights (yay for being economical and having fun cooking together!). The hostel we plan to stay at provides breakfast each morning. However, there is a ton of awesome food in Austin to try, so we plan on eating out for dinner and exploring the Tex Mex/BBQ scene quite a few nights!

Participant Requirements

No experience with human services volunteering or prior knowledge on the issue of homelessnes is necessary! Participants just need an enthusiastic outlook, an open mind, and a drive to learn more about this issue and integrate the lessons of this trip into their own community.

Service Activities

In order to expose ourselves to the multifaceted issue of homelessness and understand a variety of approaches organizations may take to combating systemic poverty, we will be serving at 3 different sites to get a more diverse perspective. First we will be serving at Caritas of Austin and learning about their long term case management approach as well as providing immediate nutritional assistance through daily lunch counter services. Next we will be working for two days at Front Steps, 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 through a nurturing and supportive community. Volunteering will be in the mornings and early afternoons, and then we will take the rest of the day to discuss our experiences, rest, and explore Austin!

Recreational Activities

We are super pumped to explore the awesome city of Austin in our free time, and this aspect of the trip will truly be up to our participants to decide. Past highlights have included exploring State street, seeing the State capital, chowin down on tacos and BBQ, and hiking to a view of the Colorado River, but the sky's the limit in the city of Mathew Mconehey and keeping it weird!

Community/Area Background

Homelessness is a profound and deep-seated issue in the city of Austin, Texas, and it is critical for the city to work to ameliorate 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 2250 people are facing homelessness in Austin, Texas, 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, and expose them to a diversity of current efforts to eradicate homelessness in Austin.

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