About Break Away

Creating Leaders and Active Citizens

Break Away's mission is to train, assist, and connect campuses and communities in promoting quality alternative break programs that inspire lifelong active citizenship.

Break Away's vision is a society of active citizens: people who value the community as a priority when making life decisions. As part of a quality Break Away experience, participants will become more educated and experienced in all sides of a social issue. Upon return, they will be empowered to make more informed decisions and take meaningful action that supports a greater good. They will become contributing members of society and will weigh in on issues that impact their communities.


Training, Assisting, and Connecting

Break Away: the Alternative Break Connection, Inc. is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the development of quality alternative break programs by providing training and information primarily to colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations interested in creating lifelong active citizens through these intensive service-learning programs.

Break Away currently has a network of over 150 chapter schools, more than 400 nonprofit partners, and hundreds of individual members worldwide, through which constituents have access to the newest ideas and a broad range of support in the national alternative break movement.

Through a tremendous alumni network of individuals who have been deeply affected by quality alternative break experiences, Break Away is able to staff its national office and programs with passionate volunteers from all over the country who dedicate countless hours towards our goal of creating a world of active citizens. Our volunteers range from high school students to professionals with advanced degrees and contribute anywhere from a few hours a month to hundreds of hours per year.

With its membership opportunities Break Away provides a national network for alternative break programs to exchange ideas. Break Away also offers interactive consulting and training to those involved with alternative break programs. The highly regarded Alternative Break Citizenship schools, originally called "Boot Camps" when they debuted in 1993, are Break Away's signature alternative break leadership training sessions that combine interactive workshops and activities with an intensive 6-day alternative break experience during the summer.

Break Away also conducts two-day trainings tailored to the specific needs of a particular college or university through its Site Leader Retreats. Break Away works directly with a host school to develop an agenda and training session that will give campus leaders the tools they need to be effective team leaders and facilitators of lifelong active citizenship.


Growing and Transforming

Break Away was founded in June 1991 by Michael Magevney and Laura Mann; two Vanderbilt University students. Break Away operated as a national nonprofit organization for 9 years, though it was officially a program of Vanderbilt University. Thanks to the tremendous financial and administrative support Break Away enjoyed in that capacity, it grew from being a fledgling alternative break resource center to the leading national organization dedicated to developing lifelong active citizenship through quality alternative break programs. In May of 2000, Break Away incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and was graciously housed by the Center for Civic Education and Service at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

In 2007, Break Away headquarters relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and moved in with Hands On Network, in order to explore the crossover in our missions of creating quality volunteer and social advocacy opportunities for recent college graduates and alternative break alumni. As of 2011, our offices are now close to downtown Atlanta and remain cube-free.