The Center for Civic Engagement



Alternative Spring Break


Service Learning in Guatemala
Ivy Tech-Bloomington student volunteers travel to Antigua, Guatemala through Ivy Tech-Bloomington's Alternative Spring Break program. The Alternative Spring Break program was established in 2007 when student and staff volunteers traveled to Virginia. In 2008 the program became international and volunteers traveled to Calnali, Mexico from 2008-2011. From 2012-2015, the program took Ivy Tech to Antigua, Guatemala and volunteers stayed in resident host-homes. Ivy Tech students and staff worked with De la Gente, a coffee cooperative, to learn about coffee production and fair trade.


Article Archives

ASB Article published in Ivy Tech Bloomington's spring 2012 newsletter
(click to download article)

ASB Article published in Ivy Tech Bloomington's spring 2011 newsletter
(click to download article)



The following are excerpts from reflection journals written by students who participated in previous trips to Calnali, Mexico. 

“From this trip and these experiences, I want to bring back happiness in the present moment. I want to smile at strangers and greet them in the street. I want to be content with what I have and find little adventures out of the ordinary. What a trip! 

The house we worked on is made of plastic tarps and left over materials that the owners probably collected from somewhere. It has dirt floor and the bathroom has a broken toilet that it seems somebody just placed on the ground. They are very poor and yet still helping others by having the aftercare program so that kids can have a warm meal and still learn after school. I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity to come here and help others. It may not be much but with 14 people here this week, I’m sure we are gonna [sic] get something done.”
-          Maria Monteilh

“We flew from Indianapolis to Houston where we had a four hour layover. (It was supposed to be three, but the plane’s windshield was leaking, yikes!) From Houston we all flew to Guatemala City. When we arrived I was so excited, I had never been to Central America before.

Wednesday night I went to a jazz show at the ruins, it was great! The director of the band played Chromatic Harmonica. I got my picture with him and he gave me a CD. On the way home I heard some live American rock music in a place called Frida’s. I went in and talked to the guys on their break. I told them I played harmonica and sang. They asked me if I would like to sit in, and I did.”
-          Billy Smith

“Today Maximo Nivel had arranged for us to meet with the kids from the aftercare program so we could get to meet them and play with them. We were divided into groups. I got to read and color with the kids and it was such a great experience. They were so happy to see the many books we brought in for all of them. Every one of them wanted to read. It seems that kid’s books in Guatemala are very expensive and these families are very poor so they can’t afford to buy books, but now they have plenty of books, enough to have their own little library. They were very grateful for our visit. I had a great time seeing how enthusiastic the kids were. It was a great experience. Today was definitely the day that I will remember the most. Sweet smiles and hugs!”
-          Victoria Kirts

Antigua, Guatemala



Calnali, Mexico: