Our programs are open to any adult who has been diagnosed with cancer and who is healthy enough to travel (regardless of age, type of tumor, or stage of disease) and anyone who has been deeply impacted by cancer as a caregiver.
The Program Fee for all A Fresh Chapter International Odyssey programs is $4,964.00 USD (though the true cost of the program is much higher). Participants have the option to pay, fundraise, or apply for a scholarship to cover the program fee. A Fresh Chapter offers many resources to help you launch a successful fundraiser, and almost all of our participants have been able to meet their fundraising goals. Many of our participants are able to fundraise the entire program fee.
Participants with financial need can apply for a scholarship through the Melissa Carroll Legacy Fund. Long term, A Fresh Chapter plans to move toward a sliding scale of fundraising, where people who have the capacity and networks to raise more funds can help subsidize people who have less ability to raise funds. Please keep in mind that although subsidies and financial assistance are available, they are limited. Those who can commit to a higher amount (through either payment or fundraising) have a higher chance of being selected.
The program fee includes the full 20+ week program, including our Discover, Integrate and Ignite Series curriculum, the two-week international volunteer experience (including all accommodations, most meals, volunteering, cultural activities, and in-country transportation) as well as the once-in-a-lifetime experience (including transportation, accommodations and meals – when applicable). Additional costs, above the program fee, include round trip airfare to/from the destination country and pocket money for optional activities, snacks and shopping.
We are constantly adding new program dates and locations to our upcoming line up. Since 2013, we have offered programs in India, Peru, South Africa, Costa Rica, and the United States. Click here to see our current list of scheduled programs or sign up via email to be the first to hear about upcoming programs.
Click here to fill out our General Application. We accept applications on a rolling basis, and we will work with you to determine which upcoming program is the best fit based on your interest, timing and availability.
When you fill out our General Application, you can indicate that you would like to apply for a scholarship. During the selection process, we work with you to determine the level of financial assistance you will need. Program participants who receive a scholarship from the Melissa Carroll Legacy Fund are all required to create a ripple impact plan to “pay forward” the experience.
Click here to donate. Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation is federally registered Canadian Non Profit with 501(c)3 status in the United States as a Project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE), a registered public charity.
Checks can be made out to:
Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs
23532 Calabasas Road, Suite A
Calabasas, CA 91302 USA
Memo Line of the Check – A Fresh Chapter
All US donations of $100 USD or more will receive a tax receipt. To learn more about sponsorship and partnership opportunities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer placements vary depending on the program location and are constantly being reevaluated. Through our partnerships with renowned international volunteer organizations like Cross-Cultural Solutions, we work with you to determine a placement that is the best fit for you and your skills and interests. In the past, our volunteers have participated in a variety of placements including: working with mentally or physically challenged people; assisting at a neighborhood daycare; working at a center for senior citizens; supporting local cancer nonprofits with marketing/fundraising efforts; providing activities in public hospitals; assisting patients in treatment for cancer; and supporting families impacted by cancer.
In addition to time spent volunteering, participants on A Fresh Chapter programs spend time with patients, survivors, and caregivers from local cancer support groups and have the opportunity to create dialogue about cancer beyond borders. You will not only act as a volunteer, but also as a cancer ambassador in communities where cancer is often veiled in shame, secrecy, and stigma.
Whether it’s watching the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, climbing the steps to view the ruins of Machu Picchu, zip-lining past a volcano in the Costa Rican rainforest or standing at the Cape of Good Hope on the most southwesterly tip of the African continent, the feeling of awe evoked by a once-in-a-lifetime experience has the power to act as a re-set in your life. As a participant, this may be the first time in a long time that you’ve felt lucky. Sharing this experience with other people impacted by cancer fosters a strong feeling of gratitude and a lasting connection to your new tribe. For most of our once-in-a-lifetime weekend trips, A Fresh Chapter partners with Canadian travel adventure company, G Adventures.
What are the A Fresh Chapter activities for addressing emotional trauma – and how much do I need to talk about my feelings?
A Fresh Chapter programs are designed to address the deeper emotional scars of cancer – the emotions around the shared struggles of cancer. Our program does not require you to share your specific story of cancer (e.g. on May 5, 2000, I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, etc.). Instead, through volunteering, travel and a variety of activities – such as journaling prompts, individual and group exercises, and opportunities to share pieces of your story – our program will help you to uncover the emotional scars of cancer, start to process and deal with them, and begin to guide you toward a new chapter in your life. While our programs do not follow the typical support model, there are some elements that may be familiar to those who have attended support groups. In addition to our activities in-country, our Odyssey Framework provides an additional 18 weeks of online support, tools, and resources to help you heal and explore life beyond cancer.
A Fresh Chapter programs are not currently set up for patients/survivors and caregivers to travel together. For patients/survivors, it is often a source of empowerment for them to feel like they have done something monumental on their own – especially if they have felt like cancer took away their control/independence. In addition, we want our caregiver participants to be able to experience the program fully and to have a break from the caregiving role and the opportunity to explore some of the emotional challenges of caregiving, which may be hard if the person they are caring for is present.
All A Fresh Chapter programs include at least one, if not more, on-the-ground partners, who understand the locale. In most cases, A Fresh Chapter works with Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS). CCS manages the volunteering component of the program and provide assistance with activities, housing, meals, etc. Each A Fresh Chapter program is also staffed with 2-3 trained AFC facilitators who travel with the group to manage all aspects of the program on the ground. This includes everything from liaising with our partners to confirm airport pick up/drop off, working to make sure dietary restrictions are accommodated, checking in after volunteering to provide necessary support and coaching, facilitating all A Fresh Chapter program activities, and providing 1-1 support to ensure each participant has the most impactful experience possible.
A Fresh Chapter has designed our programs to be accessible at all stages of the cancer journey. During the program, you will need to be able to spend at least four hours per day volunteering and doing an assortment of activities. All participants will need a medical clearance from their doctors prior to participating in the program. In addition, our once-in-a-lifetime experiences involve traveling (via vans, buses, planes etc…) for several hours and may mean being away from a major medical center for multiple days.
Yes. Through our partners, we are able to offer comprehensive medical insurance to all participants of our programs. If medical services are required, a representative from A Fresh Chapter as well as someone from our in-country partner organization will accompany you to see an English-speaking doctor and/or provide translation if required. All selected participants will receive more specific information and details about coverage.