posted March 11, 2014

Students Participate in Spring Immersion and Service Trips

Hope students participating in the Highlands Park Immersion Trip are spending the week helping with Hurricane Sandy Relief -- their work has included tearing down homes that cannot be repaired.

More than 200 Hope College students are spending their spring break serving others and gaining insights into the needs that they encounter.

The students are participating in 17 service and immersion trips during the college’s spring break, which runs through Sunday, March 23. The mix includes trips across the U.S. as well as abroad.

More than 140 students will be participating in 13 immersion trips organized by the college’s Campus Ministries Office. In addition, more than 60 students will participate in four trips organized through other programs at the college and an area church.

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 Denver, Colo., students will explore issues of poverty and urban ministry while working with Mile High Ministries.

In Miami, Fla., students will work through DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) and consider issues of urban diversity and justice as they interact with a variety of communities and serve with and learn from local organizations such as soup kitchens, immigration lawyers, housing shelters and tutoring programs.  In Tampa, Fla., students will connect with Beth El Farmworker Ministry and meet with workers in the fields and learn about the work of those advocating for the rights and dignity of farm workers.

In Chicago, Ill., students will work with SafePlace, an after-school program committed to serving those who are at-risk in the community, and will gain an understanding of human-trafficking issues.  In Annville, Ky., in the Appalachian Mountains, students will engage in home rehabilitation for area residents in need through Jackson County Ministries, which takes a holistic approach to community development including education, youth programs, agricultural training, community center, family enrichment and more.

Students remaining in Holland will explore how area ministries and non-profit organizations are addressing issues such as homelessness/poverty, community development, human trafficking and immigration, and will also explore the business side of non-profits.

Two experiences are in Newark, N.J.  Students working with North Reformed Church will engage, with an emphasis on relating and conversing, with those provided breakfast and lunch through the church and will also explore parish ministry through the church.  Students serving with Reformed Church of Highland Park will help with home repair in areas of Monmouth County hardest hit by super storm Sandy in 2012.

In Rehoboth, N.M., students will serve with Rehoboth, which ministers to the Native Americans of the Four Corners region through education with multiculturalism as a backdrop.  In Staten Island, N.Y., students will work with Project Hospitality, a long-standing organization that has addressed issues of hunger, poverty, HIV, homelessness and immigration in Staten Island.

In Nashville, Tenn., the participants will work with Young Life Capernum’s Spring Break Camp for youth with disabilities, assisting with camp activities and games, and interacting with the youth in a service experience organized through the Center for Student Missions.

In Brazil, students will spend a week on a medical mission’s boat on the Amazon River, serving small communities that don’t normally have access to medical treatment, and will engage in relational evangelism, particularly through programs for children in the villages visited.

The trips coordinated through other programs as well as Engedi Church in Holland include experiences in Chicago, Ill.; Jamaica; Washington, D.C.; and Guatemala

The college's Union of Catholic Students has organized a trip to work with Mission of Our Lady of the Angels in West Humboldt Park in Chicago, Ill.  The 13 students' activities will include serving with an after-school program, assisting in a soup kitchen, interacting with area high school students and other projects.

A total of 28 students will be traveling to Jamaica with Dr. Steven Smith, professor of kinesiology, to work on the school campus of the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf in Montego Bay. It is the 16th year that Smith has led a group of students to the site during spring break.

A total of 13 students will be traveling to Washington, D.C., through the college's Emmaus Scholars Program, which is a one-year program committed to "integral mission" (joining together the proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel).  The students will work alongside Christian NGOs that carry out ministry and advocacy for the poor, with a focus on homelessness, poverty and hunger.  They will serve with ministries such as Marth's Table, Christ-House - Healthcare for the Homeless and the National Coalition on Homelessness, and will learn about the biblical and theological foundations of activism and justice from ministries such as Bread for the World and the International Justice Mission.

A group of eight students will be traveling to Guatemala through the program organized by Engedi Church.  Partnered with Pray America and At Risk No More, the students will engage in service projects and immerse themselves in the culture as a way to best understand the problems and solutions as Guatemala continues to recover from its 1960-96 civil war.