posted March 6, 2012

Students to Participate in Spring Service and Immersion Trips

Approximately 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 16, through Sunday, March 25. 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 25 students will travel with professor of kinesiology Dr. Steven Smith to Jamaica.

In Mobile, Ala., will participate in the daily life of a community of L’Arche ministries, in which adults with developmental disabilities and those without live together and learn from one another.  In East Palo Alto, Calif., students will be working with Bayshore Christian Ministries, a year-round urban-ministry program focused on youth, to explore the ways that race and economics have an impact on access to a quality education.  In Washington, D.C., students will work with Becoming Church, Inc., to understand the impact of incarceration policies in the U.S. and to see how churches, families and communities can work together for justice and mercy.

In Miami, Fla., students will work through DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) Miami in one of two experiences with a focus on topics related to immigration.  One group will live and serve in “Little Haiti,” volunteering for agencies and grass-roots organizations that work alongside the Haitian Diaspora in Miami.  Another group will be based in Homestead, serving at a variety of ministry sites, including working with local farmers, serving food, visiting migrant camps, playing games with a youth group, sorting clothing or assisting with home maintenance.

In the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky, students will connect with Restoring Eden and visit mountaintop-mining removal sites and learn about environmental justice, energy issues and the experience of local residents affected by the mining.

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 connect with the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development, touring civil rights sites and hearing the story of the African-American struggle for equality and justice in the 1960s, and touring a 12-block target area where JMPF is working to impact the crime, drug abuse and poverty that challenges the community.  In Newark, N.J., students working with North Reformed Church will become engaged with ministries that reach out to segments of the urban community in need.

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.

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 14th year that Smith has led a group of students to the site during spring break.