Breakaway for the holidays!

Students who participate in Panther Breakaway enjoy an all-inclusive break away from home, actively engaging in a city of their choice. Panther Breakaway is a student organization that began with one trip in the winter of 2002, and then another in the spring, but limiting one to two trips until 2007 when Panther Breakaway officially chartered at Georgia State.

“Panther Breakaway is not only an educational component for students, but an opportunity to volunteer, and indulge in the fun activities of the city they’ve chosen,” said Eboni Wyatt, executive director of Panther Breakaway. Students have participated in activities from ice skating in Cincinnati to attending a Hawks game in Atlanta.

Submitted Photo
Girls enjoying a day at the beach in Orlando, FL after completing a week of service.

This year, there will be five trips for students to choose from. If traveling is too much of a hassle, there is a program focusing on sex trafficking in Atlanta. A little farther away are trips to Birmingham, where students will help teens with literacy, and to Nashville, where the focus will be on sustainable food systems. If you’re ready to leave Georgia for the holidays, students will be traveling to Cincinnati to experience the lives of those with HIV/AIDs and learning more about the disease. Lastly, students will travel to New Orleans where they will expose high school students in Louisiana to various options after graduating high school.

“I had fun meeting the kids, and the people I worked with. It felt good seeing how excited the children were to see us every day,” said Angela Cocca, a site advisor for a Cincinnati trip this year. She had the opportunity of helping fourth graders with Louisiana’s standardized testing.

In the winter, students leave Wednesday, Dec. 12 and return Sunday, Dec. 16. All trips cost $300; it is all-inclusive, which includes housing, meals, snacks and activities for the trip.

Submitted Photo
students read to group of students in Nashville, TN at the Martha O’Bryan center for their Dr. Seuss Day.

“We try to stretch the $300 so students don’t have to pay on trips; however, we encourage them to bring a little extra money if they wish to purchase souvenirs and T-shirts from their trip,” said Wyatt. Panther Breakaway encourages students to fundraise for their trips by writing letters to friends and family to donate $5, $10, or $20 towards their trip. This is how Wyatt’s first Panther Breakaway trip was fully paid for. In addition, site leaders fundraise to pay for the activities provided on trips.

Students will be given 25-30 community service hours in the winter, and 40 hours for the spring. There are no specific requirements in order to go on the trips; however, students must apply for their preferred trips and submit a short essay by the designated deadline. Applicants are not chosen based on their essays, but through a random selection process. For more information/application, check out and look at Student Clubs under Student Organizations.