Nearly 400 Hope College students will spend their spring break helping others.
The students will be participating in 25 service projects that will take them throughout the United States as well as to the Caribbean and Latin America. The college?s spring break runs Friday-Sunday, March 14-23.
More than 350 students will be participating in 23 mission trips organized by the college's Campus Ministries Office. In addition, 25 students will be traveling with associate professor of kinesiology Dr. Steven Smith to Jamaica, and 24 students will be going to Georgia with the college's chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
The mission trips are a decades-long tradition at Hope, but it is in the past 10 years that interest in them has exploded. Nine years ago, the Campus Ministries Office organized seven trips. This year there are 23.
The Campus Ministries trips will involve a variety of types of settings, including urban ministry and rural ministry within the United States, and service in Latin America.
The Rosemont Community Church in Tucson, Ariz., will host students as they work with inner city residents in an after-school tutoring program, a homeless shelter and a soup kitchen. In East Palo Alto, Calif., students will be working with Bayshore Christian Ministries, a year-round ministries program, to help at-risk children. Christ Community Church in Pompano Beach, Fla., offers students a chance to practice evangelism in the community.
In Annville, Ky., students will be taken in by Jackson County Ministries as they as they help with housing repair in the community. Walker, Ky., is another destination for students, who will be working with the Lend- A-Hand Center to help with local farming. In Louisiana, students will team with Dulac Community Cooperation to make several local improvements.
Students heading to Newark, N.J., will work with World Impact, an inner city ministry, to tutor children and offer some retail training to residents. The New Life Fellowship in Queens, N.Y., offers students a chance to participate in urban ministry in a diverse church. Apache, Okla., and the Apache Reformed Church will host students as they work with Native Americans of all ages.
Sunshine Ministries in Loysville, Pa., allows students to help in the day-to-day operations of a rehabilitation center for recovering substance abuse victims. Philadelphia, Pa., offers students a chance to work with the Center for Student Missions to volunteer in food and clothing pantries as well as with after-school programs for at-risk children. Students traveling to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota will help with several neighborhood improvement projects on the reservation.
With Service Over Self in Memphis, Tenn., students will provide home improvement assistance to families in the community, including with children, the elderly and the homeless, or at a food bank. The Center for Student Missions in Nashville, Tenn., gives students a chance to assist in all facets of ministry to the community.
Students going to Clincho, Va., will partner with McClure River Valley Community Development to offer home improvement assistance to area residents. Psalm 23 Camp in Gap Mills, W.Va. welcomes students to help with repairs at the camp and throughout the community. The last domestic destination for the Campus Ministries trips is Washington, D.C., where students will partner with the Center for Student Missions to work in shelters and soup kitchens.
Six groups of Hope students will head to Latin America through the Campus Ministries program this year. Students heading to the Dominican Republic will team with the World-Wide Christian Schools HANDS Team to build and repair schools for the country's young children. Young Life Leaders from Hope will also be going to the Dominican Republic, to lend a hand with work projects and worship. Students going to Honduras will live with Garifuna families while learning about Bible translation. Students will connect with the residents of four villages in Chiapas, Mexico. Students headed to Tijuana, Mexico, will team up with La Rocca, a program designed to help the city's poor. They will offer their talents for activities such as ministering to local children or volunteering at a food bank. A trip to Nicaragua will allow pre-medical and nursing students a chance to help by making home visits to give immunizations to the poor, and teach them about proper nutrition for their families.
The students involved in Hope's chapter of Habitat for Humanity will travel to Valdosta, Ga., to work through the "Collegiate Challenge" program of Habitat for Humanity International. They will join college students from around the country in helping the Valdosta-Lowndes County Habitat for Humanity affiliate, working on five houses. The work will be in preparation for the Jimmy Carter Work Project in June, of which Valdosta-Lowndes is one of the hosts. The Hope chapter has participated in several trips since its founding in 1993.
For the seventh straight year, a group of Hope students and Dr. Smith will be working on the campus of the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf in Montego Bay, Jamaica.