More than 230 Hope College students be spending their spring break serving others.
A total of 17 service and mission trips have been planned for the college's spring break, which runs Friday, March 19, through Sunday, March 28. The mix includes trips across the U.S. as well as abroad.
Some 217 of the students will be participating in multiple mission trips organized by the college's Campus Ministries Office. In addition, 14 students involved in the college's chapter of Habitat for Humanity will participate in a work project in Georgia, and another 25 students will travel with professor of kinesiology Dr. Steven Smith to Jamaica.
The itinerary had originally included trips to Miguel Aleman and Tijuana in Mexico, but Campus Ministries opted to cancel them in light of a travel warning issued by the United States Department of State in response to recent incidents of violence involving drug cartels in communities in Mexico near the border.
In East Palo Alto, Calif., students will be working with Bayshore Christian Ministries, a year-round ministries program, to help at-risk children. Students working with Christ Community Church in Pompano Beach, Fla., will join in with the church's outreach work in a variety of settings in the community. In the Chicago, Ill., area, students will participate in building projects and work with children through Circle Urban Ministries in Austin.
In Stinking Creek, Ky., students will take on chores at the Lend-A-Hand farm, interact with children and help area residents with a variety of projects. In Jackson, Miss., students will participate in building projects and other activities of Voice of Calvary Ministries.
Students heading to Newark, N.J., will work with World Impact, an inner-city ministry, to tutor children and participate in renovation projects. In Mescalaro, N.M., through the Mescalaro Reformed Church, students will work with health care providers on an Apache Native American reservation.
Street Life Ministries in Queens, N.Y., offers students a chance to participate in urban ministry in an ethnically diverse setting. With Service Over Self in Memphis, Tenn., students will provide improvement assistance to homeowners in the inner-city community.
Hope students will travel abroad to five sites through the Campus Ministries program this year.
Young Life leaders from Hope will go to the Dominican Republic, to lend a hand with work projects at a Young Life camp, play with children, and lead activities and worship with young adults involved in Young Life. Two groups will travel to Guatemala: one to work with Worldwide Christian Schools, to help construct a new high school building, and another focused on building projects and working with children through the Fundaninos orphanage. Students going to Jamaica will work on construction projects in the village of the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf.
A trip to Nicaragua will allow pre-health professions students a chance to help by making visits to remote villages and public schools to help meet a variety of hygiene and medical needs.
The students involved in Habitat for Humanity will engage in a work project in Albany, Ga. They will be working in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity's International Collegiate Challenge program on a home that is being sponsored by Flint Rivers Habitat for Humanity.
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. Smith has led a group of students to the site during spring break for several years.