About Margaret Moose Swallow
Margaret Moose Swallow Margaret Moose Swallow is a 1975 graduate of the University of Maryland. A student leader on campus, Margaret was a member and President of Mortar Board Honor Society and active in many other student organizations. Margaret was recognized for her outstanding contributions to campus as the recipient of the Byrd Award. We are grateful that Margaret established the Margaret Moose Swallow Alternative Breaks Scholarship Fund in 2011 to support students with financial need. In addition, Margaret has connected the Alternative Breaks program with the Los Andes coffee farm and primary school in Guatemala.
About Alternative Breaks
Alternative Break Programs are among the most popular programs offered at the University of Maryland. Maryland offers more than 20 experiences that send students to different locations across the United States, Central, and South America. The programs range in their focus from combatting hunger, childhood obesity, and HIV/Aids to comforting refugees and victims of domestic violence, to community development and education. The Alternative Break Program offers a experience for everyone!

Alternative Breaks scholarships are made possible through the generosity of many individuals, organizations and friends of the Alternative Breaks program. The Margaret Moose Swallow Scholarship Fund is fortunate to have the support of UMD Alternative Break alumni, the Maryland Parents Association, and countless other valued contributors.

About the Guatemala Alternative Break Experience
Margaret describes the origins of the UMD Guatemala Alternative Break Experience: “My first visit to Los Andes in Guatemala was in January 2009 when I was part of a group tour of women working in the global coffee industry. I have traveled to many coffee farms throughout the world, but there is something very special about Los Andes, the Hazard family (owners of Los Andes), and the many families that work at Los Andes as part of its farming operations.

Running a family farm is a challenging business, particularly when coffee is one of the primary cash crops. As part of our visit to Los Andes, Olga Hazard explained how the family was seeking to diversify its revenue stream by opening the farm house to tour groups interested in being close to the magnificent volcano of Atitlán. Additionally, this part of Guatemala is well known for bird watching, in particular the elusive national bird of Guatemala the Quetzal, and Los Andes is trying to establish itself as a destination for these travelers.

During our visit we had a chance to meet the children that attend the primary school located at Los Andes. Like young children everywhere, there were excited by the opportunity to meet the visitors and presented us with pictures they had drawn just for us (I’m the one in the back row wearing the straw hat):

Later that year I was in a meeting on campus where I was learning about the Alternative Break (AB) program and the various AB projects that Maryland students were involved with (Note: I graduated in 1975 and there was nothing like the AB program at that time). I learned that while there were many AB programs in the US, it was more difficult to coordinate international AB experiences. I described what I had seen at Los Andes and my belief that this could be an extremely rewarding AB experience. The AB coordinator was interested and I connected her with the Hazard family.

Over the next several months, various ideas were discussed with the Hazard family and in January 2010 the first AB group went to Los Andes and the students have returned every January since then. I’m extremely pleased that the Los Andes project is an international option within the AB program and I established this scholarship as a small contribution to help students participate. It is a true win-win situation. The students cover their expenses to stay at the Los Andes farm and the Hazard family provides all of the materials needed for that year’s project (e.g., one year the students built a playground for the primary school).

I have had the opportunity to meet some of the students that have been part of this program and for many of them it is their first experience outside the States. The insights and personal growth they experience as a result of the AB program is critical to them becoming the type of leaders that can make a meaningful difference in whatever career path they choose.”

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