AHEPA Chapter 371 is graciously offering up to $10,000 in Real Break 2020 Scholarships for GOA Students. First priority is given to college students from the GOA Metropolis of Detroit. Click HERE to apply. Scholarships will be approved on a rolling basis through February 1, 2020.

What is the mission of Real Break?
Real Break aims to prepare college students to be socially informed Orthodox Christian citizens of this world, while directing their focus on the world to come, the kingdom of heaven.
What is a Real Break trip?
Built on a foundation of fellowship, education, worship, and service, Real Break trips provide students the opportunity to understand the true meaning of seeing Christ in the other – traveling to all parts of the world, deepening their faith, serving those in need, and cultivating relationships with like-minded peers.
What can I expect from a Real Break trip?
Each Real Break trip is unique with their own mission and goals. However, all OCF Real Break trips are broken up into two categories – service and pilgrimage. The service-based trips have particular project(s) that are worked on with a specific host location (ex: Project Mexico, Habitat for Humanity, Pro Vita Orphanage). Though many of these trips also include visits to holy sites, their foundation is rooted in service. The pilgrimage trips give students a chance to explore and experience Orthodox sites with a unique itinerary designed for their age group. Past pilgrimage trip locations have included Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Thessaloniki.
What does my registration fee cover?
INTERNATIONAL TRIPS – The trip cost includes international airfare – though for some trips abroad students will be advised to book their own international airfare within certain time constraints – transportation, lodging, meals, outings, materials, and donations for the trip hosts and certain visited sites. If OCF is booking your international airfare, the trip cost does not include a participant’s domestic flight to the designated domestic departure airport.

DOMESTIC TRIPS – The trip cost includes transportation, lodging, meals, outings, materials, and donations for the trip hosts and certain visited sites. The trip cost does not include a participant’s flight to the designated arrival/departure airport.

Are scholarships available?
Scholarships vary from year to year. Often they are limited in both amount and scope. Please reach out to OCF National Programs Manager, Donna Levas at donna@ocf.net for what scholarships are available for the current Real Break season.
What options do I have for fundraising the cost of my trip?
Fundraising for your Real Break trip will be a new adventure! Very rarely do students not raise the total cost of their trip. In fact, they usually end up raising MORE than the amount needed! As soon as you register for Real Break, OCF will send you a Fundraising Packet that includes tips, strategies, and form letters to help you on your fundraising journey!

Supporters can donate to your trip in one of two ways:

Donors can visit the following link to donate directly to your trip: www.ocf.net/sponsor/
Donors can make a check out to Orthodox Christian Fellowship and include your name and the name of your trip in the memo field. You can collect the checks and mail them as a batch or the donors can send their checks directly to OCF at 50 Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA 02445.

Here are some basic fundraising tips:

Start Right Away! Although your Real Break trip may be several months away, you could find donors who are looking to give before the end of the year for tax purposes.
It is okay to contribute some of your own funds. Start putting aside some money every week. You will be asking many people to help support your participation in Real Break, so do not be afraid to also be a donor.
Organize a fundraiser! Get creative and come up with your own unique way to share your Real Break trip with others and to gain their support.
Your family and friends can be a great support to you. Make sure they’re on board – they are a great resource to help in the process of fundraising by donating to your trip, getting donations from co-workers, and directing you to specific people who may be able to make larger contributions.
Set up a GoFundMe page to support your efforts! It’s a creative way to extend your reach and many Real Break students have had a lot of success using this fundraising method.
REMEMBER – It’s very important to send thank you notes to your donors once you receive their contributions.

All Real Break participants’ donations are tracked by the OCF National Office on individualized Google Spreadsheets that each student has access to.

Who will lead my Real Break experience?
Each Real Break trip is led by a Clergy Leader and a Lay Leader. Leaders are pre-selected by OCF for both the specific talents they bring to their respective trip and for their educational and professional backgrounds. Participating students will be introduced to their trip leaders via a group WhatsApp Chat upon registering for their trip.
How will we communicate with home while on Real Break?
The use of cell phones is not prohibited during Real Break. For domestic trips, students will be able to stay in consistent contact with their families. For the international trips, WiFi is available every day in some form (hotel, bus, etc.), and students can always feel free to check in with their loved ones.
What safety considerations are in place for Real Break trips?
Travel insurance is purchased for each trip leader and student registrant on every Real Break trip. These insurance policies cover minor travel disruptions and major health emergencies. Specific policy riders are shared individually with students and leaders prior to the trip’s departure. For international trips, OCF notifies the US State Department of specific travel details for the entire group. Additionally, each trip leader is trained in proper safety protocols for their specific trip location – local US Embassies, hospitals, etc.
What documents do I need to go on a Real Break trip?
International Trips

Copy of Passport (must be valid for at least 6 months after trip return date)
Recent Photograph
Letter of Recommendation from Spiritual Father/Parish Priest
This letter should state that the student is (1) an Orthodox Christian in good standing and (2) vouch that the student is prepared mentally and spiritually to make the trip.

Domestic Trips

Recent Photograph
Letter of Recommendation from Spiritual Father/Parish Priest
This letter should state that the student is (1) an Orthodox Christian in good standing and (2) vouch that the student is prepared mentally and spiritually to make the trip.

What is Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s refund policy for Real Break?
When a student registers for a Real Break trip, they pay a non-refundable deposit in a predetermined amount. Meaning, if a student cancels their trip, regardless of the timeframe, this money will not be returned to them. In the event a participant needs to cancel his/her registration, all cancellations must be submitted via email communication no later than January 15 for March trips and March 15 for all May/June trips to OCF’s National Programs Manager, Donna Levas at donna@ocf.net. For trips in which international flight arrangements are made by OCF, any participant who cancels after January 15 and March 15 deadlines respectively, will be fully responsible for the full cost of the previously booked international flight and must remit those funds to the OCF National Office within two (2) weeks of his/her cancellation, if their trip is not already paid/fundraised for.

Again, the designated registration deposit is non-refundable and will be forfeited upon cancellation. OCF will contact all of the cancelled participant’s donors to present them with the option of having their donation refunded in full or otherwise redirected to support OCF’s further development of the ministry. If OCF needs to cancel a Real Break trip for safety and/or other reasons, the deposit and all donations made on a participant’s behalf will be refunded unless the participant and/or donors decide to otherwise have that money remain with OCF as a donation to the ministry.