Nearly 200 Hope College students will be spending their spring break serving others and gaining insights into the needs that they encounter.
Some 15 service and immersion trips have been planned for the college's spring break, which runs Friday, March 18, through Sunday, March 27. The mix includes trips across the U.S. as well as abroad.
A total of 175 of the students will be participating in 14 immersion trips organized by the college's Campus Ministries Office. In addition, another 17 students will travel with professor of kinesiology Dr. Steven Smith to Jamaica.
In East Palo Alto, Calif., students will be working with BayshoreChristianMinistries, a year-round ministries program, to help at-risk children, learning about how racial reconciliation affects urban ministry. In Miami, Fla., students will work through DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) Miami at a variety of ministry sites, including homeless shelters, with migrant workers and their children, sorting food and clothing, or assisting with home maintenance. In Americus, Ga., students will take part in the day-to-day life of Koinonia Farm, a Christian community committed to racial equality, through farm chores, visiting local development ministries and other activities. Students remaining in Holland will join with area churches and other organizations in working on a variety of projects.
In Detroit, students will work with the Jeanie Wylie Community will learn about and work on food justice and urban farming, helping build a community garden, visiting a public school for teen mothers that grows its own food, and touring local food-justice organizations like D-Town Farms and Greening Detroit. In Jackson, Miss., students will work through Voice of Calvary Ministries, participating in building projects and other reconciliation activities dealing with poverty and racism. Students heading to Newark, N.J., will work with World Impact, an inner-city ministry committed to serving the urban poor, to tutor children and participate in renovation projects.
At the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, students will work with Re-Member on a housing rehabilitation and renovation project alongside members of the Lakota community. In Chattanooga, Tenn., students will work with Hope for the Inner City in leading after-school programs for children and on a building project in learning more about urban poverty and development. In the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, students will visit mountaintop-mining removal sites and learn about environmental justice, energy issues and the experience of local residents affected by the mining.
Hope students will travel abroad to three sites through the Campus Ministries program this year.
Along the Mexico-U.S. border at Agua Prieta, Mexico, and Douglas, Ariz., students will work with Frontera de Cristo to develop a deeper understanding of the economic, political and spiritual connections that people have across borders, and issues related to immigration, economic justice and multicultural ministry. In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, students will work with the Association for a More Just Society, which is a Christian organization that focuses on government accountability and rights for the nation's poor. In Blue Fields City, Nicaragua, students interested in the health professions will have an opportunity to participate in the public health work of the Reformed Church in America and help meet a variety of hygiene and medical needs.
The group of students with Smith will be working on the school campus of the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It is the 13th year that Smith has led a group of students to the site during spring break.