Here at HQ, we're thrilled to announce four compelling focus areas and locations for the 2019 ABCs:
Integration, Access, and the Experience of New Americans
June 2 - 7 | Atlanta, GA
Hosted in partnership with Emory University
For the last 25 years, Clarkston, a small city outside of Atlanta, has flourished as a national hub for refugee resettlement. With the arrival of more than 40,000 refugees, diverse communities have become integral to the region’s sense of identity. Recent changes in national policy has reduced federal support for people forced to flee their homes due to conflict and/or persecution. Consequently, in 2018, the total number of people resettled in Atlanta was only a third when compared to prior years. Despite the precipitous decline, organizations have continued to support and mobilize refugees, while arriving New Americans navigate the complicated processes surrounding citizenship, community participation, and addressing their immediate needs. ABCs participants will work with organizations in Atlanta that assist New American populations in regaining a sense of place while advocating for compassionate communities locally, nationally, and globally.
Collaborative Approaches to Greening a Growing City
June 23 - 28 | Grand Rapids, MI
Hosted in partnership with Grand Valley State University
As the fastest growing city in Michigan, Grand Rapids stands as a national leader in eco-friendly development. With a history of urban sprawl that centered industrial and profit-focused business takeover of green space - local leaders have implemented efforts to reclaim and prioritize the natural environment. A coalition of institutions and organizations are working together to create vibrant public spaces focused on the health and quality of a community. From sustaining the Grand River, a treasured icon of the city that intersects downtown, to building schools, a major public transit station, and an art museum that are all LEED certified - this west Michigan city has worked to use natural resources to bolster connections between the environment and its residents. At this ABCs, we’ll explore the multiple facets of urban greening - including preserving parks, creating accessible community spaces, and encouraging citizen involvement in sustainable development.
The Grand Rapids ABCs will also feature a three-day Staff Track. Staff who work with break programs have the opportunity to attend the full ABCs and switch into the Staff Track for the last three days, or to just come for the final three days, depending on program needs.
Respecting and Restoring Ecosystems in our National Lands
July 20 - 26 | Grand Canyon National Park
Hosted in partnership with the National Park Service
The mission of the National Park Service is centered on the preservation of natural and cultural resources for the “enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” Humans have a complicated relationship with the natural world - symbiotic and nurturing or one-sided and consumptive. In celebration of Grand Canyon National Park’s centennial, we’re reminded of the critical commitment to caring for and honoring our national lands. Through the investigation of ecosystems, we will consider the path forward in preserving and stewarding one of the most iconic national parks for the next 100 years. At this ABCs, as part of a long-standing partnership with the National Park Service, we’ll join efforts with park staff to address the impact of trash and visitor traffic on the health of our nation’s parks.
Access and Inclusion in Education Reform
In 2011, the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative birthed Tennessee’s statewide efforts to reform schools with lower performance rates. Years later, the results have been mixed. Leaders in Memphis are working to scale back major turnaround efforts from outside influences and recenter the voices of local residents and families. By centering access and inclusion in schools, justice-based education reform recognizes the challenges posed by external influences on families' lives such as racial or economic segregation and access to basic needs, like housing and food. This ABCs we’re partnering with schools, teachers, and students to expand our own understanding of how to build welcoming classroom environments, equip children to manage life in and outside of school, and ensure inclusion of all identities within our education systems.