Active Citizen Continuum
The Active Citizen Continuum is a measurement model developed by the national nonprofit organization Break Away, and is used by Alternative Break programs across the country.
Alternative Break programs such as Florida Alternative Breaks connect student volunteers with communities that need work done around specific social issues. Before they ever head out on their trips, students meet with site leaders who are well researched in the social issues they are working on.
The continuum aims to help student volunteers identify where they fall on the spectrum of apathy to advocacy within their community. Throughout their preparation for a trip and during their time serving these students are given the tools and guidance necessary to move along the model, with the goal being to achieve active citizen status.
Students are prepared to serve the communities benefiting from these trips to the best of their ability, using research and engagement tactics to to ensure they have a positive impact.
As they work through this process, segmented into the Eight Components of a Quality Alternative Break (left), they not only develop a mindset of service for the focal community of the trip, but they are also encouraged to bring an active citizen mindset back with them into their local communities.
Florida Alternative Breaks encourage selflessness and compassion throughout their programming. However, there is a component of self improvement with these trips, as students are put into situations in which they need to think critically, understand the communities they are serving, and move beyond a “that’s not my problem” mentality.
One of the most notable aspects of this program is that upon return, participants are encouraged to take what they have learned and apply it to the community around them.