Disorientation Guide to Service Learning: Solidarity Not Charity - Alterative Breaks at UC Berkeley - Cal Corps Public Service Center - Haas Public Service Leaders 2013


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Disorientation Guide to Service Learning: Solidarity Not Charity - Alterative Breaks at UC Berkeley - Cal Corps Public Service Center - Haas Public Service Leaders 2013




Berkeley, California



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Oisotien+a+ion Guide ~o
service Leatnins





HMS P\B..ICsm~ \,.EAOO\
S 2013

Altcmo.tivo Breaks is a student -ru n and stud .cot -in itiated service-lear ning prog-r;im.th at

gives students the opportunity to ex;plore social inequities through direct service,
education, and reflection during the spring semester and academic spring break.
Students spend spring ,break working and living in places outside of the usual spatial
and social context that univers ity life affords. The Alternative BI'eaks program works to
develop strong student leaden at UC Berkel ey o.nd create authentic rccip:rocnl
relations h ips with our co n1munity partners . Ea ch of our ten wee k-long trips is:

accompan ied by a semester- long DcCal and focuses on an issue such as environmental
justice , health care, immigration, homelessness, animal welfare, food justice , prisonindustrial complex, migrant fann labor, or education. Students serve in communities
throughout Califo rnia, Oregon, Arizona, and Louisiana.


Table of Contents
Critica l Service -Learning
Intent ion vs . Impact
Cultura l Humility
Critica l Reflection
The Golden Circle Approach
What Does "Doing Good" Look Like?
Sitting at the Feet of Community
Ways of Being
Feldman's Rules of Thumb
Aut hor Biograph ies
Acknow ledgements


"Leadership is knowing the difference between
the ideal and reality and service is making an ef-

fort toward closing the gap between those two
-Past Cal Corps Leader



Critical Service-Learning



V ou luntouris rn

& Not g

By imposing our "modern·
vi.ewts-,we ofte.n undermine
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thier wisdom. There U a \ot of
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on\y we stop and listen.


dynamic practice




oppre.ssion and


In or

to engage



community partners.


wa nee to examine

own as.swnptlons and
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change redistribute authentic
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are wasting your time . Bu t if you

things as they are,

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we are."

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Queens land, Austra lia


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Voluntourism (n)
the practice of taking a holiday which combines leisure and
sightseeing with the opportunity to work for a charity or oth er worthwhile cause {MacMillan Dictionary]
also Voluntouris t (n) and Voluntouring (v)


Examples of common challenges with voluntour ism:

Sometimes, the services that we prov ide can be done by skilled
craftspeople w ithin the commun ity, but they simply lack the
material resources to carry out projects.
Imposing "modern" worldviews can compromise long-standing
t raditions and introduce practices that undermine local econom 'ies.
Building a school won't be helpful if the reason kids don't go to
school is because they need to work. And by recruiting foreign
volunteers for building efforts, jobs are taken away from individuals who live there and have no opportunities to leave.
There are instances where we can do more harm than good.
Helping in an orphanage will give kids opportunities to experience things they wouldn't have a chance to do, right? But maybe it also produces rapid volunteer turnover resulting in kids
being unab le to develop the capacit y to trust adults.
The work that is done on volunteer-vacations is often work
which, in another context, would require extensive tra ining and
background checks. Nearly anyone can sign up to teach in impoverished countries, but getting teaching credentia ls is a
lengthy process. Is there a better way to support improvements
in education if you do not have a teaching credential? Maybe
you can support them in raising funds for a new afterschool
program they want to start or in lobbying politicians to change

As you can see with these examples, we may come into a service
experiences w ith good intentions but still have a negative impact if
we fail to acknowledge that these questions have tricky answers
and long term solutions that cannot be executed in a few months of
volunteering. There is a lot of knowledge and informatio n and wisdom contained in other communities, if only we stop and listen. For
example, have you ever asked anyone from the communities you
desired to serve what is it that causes home lessness in the first
place? Why is it that so many people are food insecure? How come
schools are disheveled and education hard to come by?


Before going on any service trip, the first step is some serious
personal reflection (more in th is guide later). Why are you going
on this volunteer-venture? What might be some of your hidden
assumptions about this commun ity/issue? What are you hoping
to gain, and what are you willing to give? Not all service programs are created equal. It is your respons ibility to research
different programs that exist and ensure that they work along
with the community instead of apart from the commun ity. You
can read more about these tensions in "Non-Profit Industrial
Complex" and "The Golden Circle Approach to Choosing the
Right Community Partners."
Understanding and meeting community need is the core of quality service. Let go of your own ideas about what needs to be
done and find ways to connect with the people who have a
stake in the problem you are trying to solve. The work that you
end up doing may not be exactly what you had in mind for your
"dream" volunteer experience, but isn't it more important that
you are helping to accomplish the dreams of the community rather than your own?


Some good places to start are listed below. They offer various
links and resources to the serious voluntourist.
Finally, just realize that the ability to take a time off and spend it
in a volunteer endeavor is a privilege, and not afforded to every-

the pastweare liberating
our imag
inationneedsto be takendownbrickby brickbychippingawayat the culturalembeddedness
that pre-determines
of the pastin waysthat holdus captivein the present"

Cultu.ral Humi lity: Wh at is it and Wh y Does it M att er? by Chika Kondo

Cultural humility is a dynamic practice that allows us to respectfully en gage with community partners who are our guides in sharing their own
personal and community wisdoms around social justice. What we've
come to learn is that meaningful service requires mutual relationship
building between us and our commun ity partners. If we want to have authentic relationships built on high positive regard, we need to be m indful;
actively reflective about how ou r assumptions and prejud ices about people who come from communities different than our own influence our
actions; and embrace the "messiness" of living in society that privileged
some over others. In this way , we move towards a goal of collective liber ation and work to avoid t he all-too -common parachuter metaphor where
outsiders dive in with bundles of resources without a working knowledge
of the histories of trauma and hardships many communities have long
endured .
We might engage in service because it is the right thing to do or makes us
fee l good abou t ourselves, but if we are not critical of why there is a need
for service and what the root of the problem is, then we are merely engaging in "band -aid solutions .'' This is why we encourage those wanting
to do service to learn and gain a better understanding of the social issues
at hand. But j ust having knowledge about an issue is not enough. This is
an ongoing journey and process: t here will never really be a point where
you've "arrived."
In many of the communities we wish to engage with, community mem bers may not have "equal" access to opportunitie s such as education,
safety from violence, affordable housing, civil rights, food security , job
training programs, recreationa l and cultural programs, and culturally compet ent health care. We cannot really escape or diminish that we will undoubted ly have greater societal privilege than those in the communities
we are engaging with. There is privilege that comes with being a student
from UC Berkeley and assumptions peop le make about Cal students . Privi lege can show up in a variety of forms (race, class, age, ability, education
level, etc). To deepen our engagement with community partners, we must
be willing to take personal responsibility, create systems of accountability ,
and accept some sense of vulnerab ility in acknowledging our own pa in
and past hurts . We must also be willing to face the guilt and shame we
m ight feel about our privilege so that we don't get stuck in doing not hing.
So now, what is cultural humility in practice ? There are mu ltiple parts and
I be lieve it must start with our own self-re fl ection. This is a powerful tool


in understanding our own backgrounds and how our own perceived identities carry various types of privileges and if some of those identities align
with dominant groups then also power . Taking this additional step to
acknowledge whe n part of your identity belongs to the beneficiary of unearned privilege (i.e. white, male, heterosexua l, physically-abled, college
graduate, citizen, wea lthy, etc.) can be challenging because we are socialized into assuming that our experiences and backgrounds are shared by
others and that everyone has access to the same level of benefits we enjoyed. It is difficult to understand what we don't know. So give yourself a
pat on the shoulder for having this willingness to see where you have
room to grow. Keep in mind tha t self-awareness is a never-ending process
because the world is never static and as people, we are always growing.
Growth only occurs when you are w illing to challenge yourself to ask the
deeper questions.
Whe n we are engaging in service, we must allow for community members to define their cultural identities for themselves. Put your own prejudgments and assumptions aside and enter with a humb led open
mind. Displaying signs of respect is extremely important in order to reach
mutual trust and understanding. One way to think about it is... if you
were the guest at your professor's house, how wou ld you behave? Would
it be different the way you normally behave at a well -known friend's
house? Probably . This m indf ulness comes into play as we become ob servant of our external bebaviors and even the types of questions we inquire when interacting with community membe rs. For example, a question like: "So how did you become homeless?" makes the assumption
that the community member is wi lling to share his or her life story with
you and doesn't provide the kind of respect that person deserves. Instead, try to put the subject at the center of the room. For example, a question like, "Would you be willing to share your opinion on
how the local city council views home lessness?" might provide a better
way to put build ing mutual relationships into practice as is it a question
you can both explore without putting someone on blast .
I've said a lot here in just a page or so. But cultural humi lity is a way of
being, a never ending process, and a necessary component for social justice work if you see service learning as part of a movement centered
around collective liberation.

The bottom line is to be mindful and humbled when entering into different communities and understand that under surface level interactions,
there is much more embedded within different cultural principlesand

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The Golden Circle Approach to Choosing the Right Community
Partners by Kati Hinman
If we only have a limited time to do service, it is critical that we
choose the right community partners to work with. The Golden
Circle, by Simon Sinek, is a new way to think about the work that
we do. Often times we get so overwhelmed by the logistics of
what we are doing that we forget why we bother in the first
place. He argues: "It doesn't matter what you do, it matters
WHY you do it." Think about it , how in the world did iPods and
iPhones become something that everyone has to own? It was
not because Apple could do things tha t other companies could
not do as well; it was because they made you believe that being
innovative was cool. In short, if you had an iPod, you were identified as someone on the cutting edge of innovative technology.
So what in the heck does that have to do wi t h service learning?

~-•.-o(<l )







Simon Sinek urges us to do business with people who believe that
what we bel ieve because if we share core beliefs , we will have real
motivation to accomplish our collective goals. That means that before you can choose the right organizations to work with , you need
to figure out why you want to do this work . Think first about why
this matters to you and why you believe that this service is important. Once you find your why, you can look for organizations
that share those same beliefs . From there, you can reflect on how
you want to act on your belief s, and then you can think about what
concrete steps you need to take to make that happen.
If you want to learn more on this model, check out
http ://tinyurl.com/29nuvxh.
What does this look like in practice? Well, one big "why" we have
for doing this work is that we believe that all people are inherently
equal and deserve the same opportunities and rights to a full and
dignified life . However, we also believe that this is not the reality,
and we live in a society with structures that privilege an elite group
based off of the situation into which they are born. We value the
wisdom of communities and believe that they know what they are
doing well and what they need better than w e, as outsiders , ever
can. Because of this, we try to work with organ izations that do not
just "serve ," but give people in oppressive situations a chance to
take part in the decisions that affect them . It is difficult to tell if
organizations are actually doing this until you begin to work with
them .
By asking questions to the organization you are align ing yourself
with, you can at least start a dialogue about their values and begin
to understand if their beliefs align w ith your own . Also keep in
mind that an organization might share the same "why" as you, but
have a completely different "what" or approach to solving the
problem. Do not instantly write them off . Take the time to reflect
on their mission and vision and question if you can still serve the
community through their different approach. That is why it is so
important to always reflect and be willing to learn from our own
mistakes .



Who Decides What "Doing Good" Looks Like? by Kati Hinman
When yo u think of "non -profit," you probab ly th ink of a sort of RobinHood image: a bunch of people bravely fighting for the rights of the oppressed and sacrificing all they have to help those in need. That is unfor tunate ly not always the reality. Nonprofits still need finances to function ,
and even when they have great ideas, funding is always a challenge.
Where do they get that money? Usually from private donors and government grants. And there is no way that those donors are just handing nonprofits the money and saying, "here, enjoy, we trust you to do the right
thing !" Many times, the donors have one idea of how to solve a problem,
and it is very different from the commun ity's idea. And since donors are
the people with the money, the non-profit may be forced to use the
methods that the donors want to use. These methods aren't usually look ing at changing the system. They are usually about providing resu lts that
look nice in a pamphlet, but do n' t accomplish t he goals that the community wants to accomplish. Make sure to look at where organizations are
getting their money from and how t hey hold themselves accou ntable not
to their donors but to their communities. Who decides on new projects?
Who decides if current projects are successful? What is their end goal?
Asking these questions wil l help you weed out the organizatio ns that may
just be doing "good" rather than creating real change.
You may also need to look beyond their inner po litics at the re lationships
of organizations in the area. Consider what other organizations and
gro ups your organization is working with . In certain places you may find
non -profit "hot spots," with a lot of similar non -profits working on similar
problems. This can create a sense of competitio n rat her t han co llabora tion, because they are all applying for the same grant money. I know
these are very critical questi ons, but the purpose in asking them is to he lp
you discover which non-profits are doing the work you believe in. Creati ng sustainable, structural change to elimi nate injustice is no easy task,
but there are peop le working on it. It's just a matter of finding them . For
more on this, see The Golden Circle Approach to Finding the Right Community Partners! If you want to read more, check out:
Laurah Nade r's "Up the Anthropologist: Perspectives Gained from
Studying Up," a piece tha t describes how we need to start look ing "up' ' at the power dynamics of government, nonprofits and
for profit organizations, and the upper classes of our societ y.
William F. Fisher "DOING GOOD? The Politics and Anti-Politics of
NGOS," which gives you a bette r sense-of the inner po litics occurring within NGOs and the other organizations and government in
the area.

Sitting at the Feet of Community: Systems of Oppression and
Service-Learning by Chika Kondo
When discussing the value of service Martin Luther King Jr. provides a
great example about what brings us to serve:

"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop
to help this man, what will happen to me?" But. .. the good Samaritan
reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will hap pen to him?"'
Martin Luther King Jr.'s reversal of the question in the story highlights
the importance of recognizing that engaging in service is not meant to
be an activity based on selfishness - we don't do it just to fee l good
about ourselves, we do it because our humanity is directly linked to
addressing the manifest injustice we see in the world. But, if we lead
with thinking that this man needs to be "saved" or "fixed" or "helped"
and that we are the ones to do it, our greatest success may be that we
only perpetuate the stereotype that he is someone who needs saving
and is incapable of helping himself.
If we really want to make a difference, we must learn the historical
narrative of ma rginalized communities. We must position our own
understanding of what it means to serve in a larger narrative of systemic inequity. The history of oppression is long. Our problems have
deep roots and have been made invisible. For instance, many of us
celebrate Columbus Day and Thanksgiving as nationa l holidays without acknowledging that the founding of this country sits on the genocide committed against Native Americans. How might our traditions
change if we truly acknowledged the harm that has been caused?
The process of contextualizing our service in the history of oppression
helps us understand that, while good, it is not enough to just bu ild a
house or a shelter. We need to link arms with community members
engaged in the process of addressing the root causes of inequity - the
kind of fo lks that know the story, have been there longer than us, and
will continue to be there when we are gone. What is needed is a fostering of mutual respect, compassion, and empathy in order to recognize how we can begin to honor the spaces of others. Dan Kwong, a
LA artist and activist, writes "the mandate to undo racism and other
forms of oppression creates a constant struggle for clarity and compassion among people of different backgrounds."


Wh ile our acts of service cannot suddenly undo system ic inequity and
the marginalization of others , it can provide the opportunity to listen
to the stories of others and the possibility of mutually beneficial relationships . There are very few opportunities as a college student to
really be able to sink all ten toes into the ground and dive into the
messiness of social justice and deepen our understanding as to why it
is needed.
Having gone on several service learning trips now, I always leave feel ing as though I gained so much more than what I was able to give . But
this feeling should not stand as an isolated experience in our
lives. Instead , I encourage you to expand on your service learning experience. Maybe your service-learning experience ignites a desire to
continue to commit to public service and really dive into what solidari ty means to you. Maybe it means you become a bit more curious
about how social injustice is presented on campus around campus
climate and how others perceive of difference . Perhaps you begin to
wonder how justice and service apply to your major even if it's not a
social science major . Imagine the kinds of technology that could come
out of the materials sciences building that foster self-sufficiency and
foster community healing . Or what if all public policy minors and business students developed models that centered on amp lifying the
voice of the community rather than pushing their own ideals of what
the need is. Service is more than just helping , I believe it is a way to
connect and transform this world into a place where everyone feels
they belong.

nevu-.-tctl ,ty v..nd~+t\ n,cA. 04.
ptr~e,,n u.ri-n
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h,s poiin¥ 0~ \tiew-

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To ~ll Pr Moc..\!:.i~1~
H,o.rix,r Lre,

L is t of exam p le s & short


ways of Being are a way t
creat• a IIClf• apace that foetere
the development of mutua l

Ways of Beingl

relatloneh lpe and helpe to
deepen our thinking oraund the
difficult queetlone

One Diva, One Mic
Allow ing one person to speak at a ti me. It con also be useful in asking people to
lsava apaco in botwoon spoakora for tho so who nood more ti mo 10 p roco a.:e

wo r d's, or ore less cormfortoble fighting for ai rt ime in a conversation.


Rule: What's

Silence is

said here, stays hare, whats
leaves here


her ·e

Please keep the personal stories and exper ience s shared here con f iden tia l. we wornt
people to be comfort able porticipa1ing and challenging themselves. Please al so share
the g ems of i nfo rmation, clear action steps, and deeper understandings you deve lop
with this world.

ELMO: Enough,

let1's, move on

This one is meant tor more decision making processes whe111
things get d rown ed ou t or
tangents turn into heated debates. It's a simple way to redirect the conve rsat ,ion and
perttaps table it for another t ime or d elegate too group to continue discuss ing.

No one knows everyth i ng;
together know a lot
we all ore here to practice being
humble, because we have something
to learn tram everyone In the room.
This also means we oil have o
respo nsibility for shoring what we
know , so that 01hers may learn from

vs Impact

It is i mportant to recognize that wtiile our
Inten t ions may not have meant any harm, the
impact we have on others matters. This is often
used in apolog ies for people to apo logize on the
impact they had on the other person instead of
opa logizlng and say.Ing we didn't mean any

"I" Statements
Folks in the room should be weory of
how they state their opinions.
Statements that include ..we·· or ··our··


up, move

makes the assump tion that everyone is
on the so me boot but th at moy not
always be the case.


The folks from the Aorta Collective lo group that works
on social j ustice consultations)

say1 ...,, you· re someone

who tends to not speak a lot, please move up into a role
of speaking


If you tend to spea k a lo·t, please

move up into a role of list ening more. This isa tw ist on
the line more commonly

heard ··ste p u p, ste p back - .

litne"up/up" confirms that in both experiences, growth
is happening_ (You don 't go bock by leorning to be a

better listener). Saying "move .. insl eod of "ste p"

tha t not every one con step.


List of examples & short phrases

Wagsof Being
No bootyon duty
Encouragefor everyo
ne participating
to be as
presentas theyeonbe. AskthegroupwhatIt
takesto oochpersonto bepresentin the
Breaks'?Guick meditation'?
Thebootypartis frommyfriendwho
ne in Q discussion
not flirt during.

We can't be articulate all
the time
I thinkit is important to note this
becausepeoplemayfeel hesitantto
participateina discussi
onfor fear of
ingup" orstumblingovertheir
words. Our aimOS facilitatorsis to make
feel comfortobleporticipating.

Be awa re of t ime
his willhelpto respec
t everyone·stimeand
prepare for Zhour decalsandwould likefolksto
omebackon timefrombreaksif youhove
hemor havefolksrefrainfromspeakingin long

Lead with Curiosity
Have Fun



Next steps



Standingin SolidaritvWith_
l<ol:ii• a P•ao• «11<1Co111Jlio1:
Sl:u•li•• major
anc:f a ,O(ol,al Pouer't:g and Pra.at:io• minor at
UC B•rl<eley. She Jil<er to cfa11oeand sing

poorly anJ l:raueling l:o new plaoee. Her
gauorit:• d••••rt ie Cinnaholio with lot• olJ


Avraham I
Omri i• a eooiolos11 major

at: QC B•rl<•l•II • Sh• r•<1ll11
lib•• ".upoal<•••peanut
l:,ut;t:er, and mlnia.ture

things , Sho also till••
aaroaam.. Omri •p•n"-• h•r

IJr•• t:im• ohang ing th•
w"rld, on• tla •••rt at a

Cltilta ill a •ooiet:y ,md
•nvironment -1tll<l
political ,soianoo major at
UC Berk11l•f1· Sit• i•
p,usiona t:• about
laughing a:nd eating ,uul
hop•• t:o diemantle
at:ruatur•• olJhierarchy
on• relat:ionslt.ip a~ a

time, ChUta's n4me
m•an• "ct thou•arul
happin••• · 11ndaimr, to
liue a lilJ• gull olJemilee.



Isabell Mendoza
/aah•t:I, i• an American


•tudi,,:s , minarit11 9 immigran t
women's health major and
Et:hnio S1;r.1di••minor. Sh• i• a
Lo• Angel•• 1101:iue wil:'lt rool:e
• r1•x100,


H. er exp•r4eno•



3:ir•t •g•n•rat:ion immigNint
woman ha. ehapeJ her
inuolu•m•nt: on oc11mpu•,h•r
oar••r goals and lt•r

• I• •
p•r•p110-t;1ue on •oc&a JU•t.tc•,
Sho •njoy• watching 11port11
gam••:1 m.oaE••, li•t:•nins t:a
olaaaio rool, and •pont11nao1&•

Omri Auraltam <omrisaysmeow@gmail.com>

Kati Hinman <ltati.hinman@gmail.com>
Chika Kondo <ohikahando91@gmail.oom>
lsahet;h Mendoza <tsabethm@gmail.com>





UC Berkeley's Cal Corps and Alternative
Progra.m, Mega.n Voorhees, sunshine Workman ,
Sarah Ducker, Mike f>ishop, Dewey St . Germa ine,
Keith Feldma.n, r,,Ja.ncy
Mowery , Mong va.ng, a.LL
past and present Alternative
eireak Leaders,
and Community Pa.rnters . Your
work inspires us to continue to strengthen
work .

UC fierkeley Cal
corps Public

cente r :

Mitc hel l, Tania. D.
Cr itical ServiceLear n ing : Eng aging
the Litera.ture to
Dif f erentia.te Tu.Jo
Mode l s." Michiga n
Journal of
Cornrnunity Serv ice
Lear n ing (200 t ):
un iversi t y.

publicservi ce.
b er keley.edu

uc Berkeley's
Alterna t ive Br ea.ks
p ublicservice.
ber keley.ed u /
alterna.tivelbrea k s

uc 1erke1e1J
1tea1ts Ptost~m

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