Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Want to serve next Spring? How about going on Spring Break Trip?

If you asked me these questions two years ago, I would say why not spend it with your friends and family instead? Don’t you do enough service-learning during your semester for your classes? But surprisingly, going on a service-learning spring break trip was one of the most eye-opening experiences I had last year, which greatly motivated me to do what I’m doing now at the Service-Learning Center.

An attempt to get away from campus and my mundane life brought me to Boston last spring break. In that one short week, I met and learned about the lives of amazing but ordinary people, formed relationship with fellow Calvin students whom I either just met or knew casually through classes. I was surprised by how I enjoyed getting physically tired by the end of the day and yet still feeling excited about working the next day. We were so grateful to be working alongside Boston Project staff members, who shared with us how the ministry came about and what it has done over the years as a part of Boston urban neighborhoods. It was also in this week that I was faced with many questions as we shared in our devotions what it means to do service in such places as Christians. The question of injustice has challenged us to look deeper into the familiar Micah passage and to understand what we were doing there and what we could take out of our service. It was certainly not easy to be dealing with these questions and engaging in honest conversations about privileges, injustices and faith, but it was surely eye-opening dialogues about how God has worked through the brokenness of our world and our own lives. In the midst of the frustration and confusion we felt as we tried to do our short-term service, we realized that there is tremendous hope in God’s word when he called us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with him. The work of Boston Project Ministries reminded us of this promise. We left energized but also challenged to be aware and involved with our world with humility and faith.

Fortunate to have such great experience with Spring Break Trip, I was also amazed to hear from my friends as they came back from theirs. Now as I work in the Service-Learning Center, I am so pumped to be one of the first people to learn about the new Spring Break Trips. This year our office will have nine different Spring Break Trips that will take place across the nation, from the local communities of Grand Rapids to the urban ministries in Boston, Chicago, Knoxville, and other organizations that are committed in community development through creative means, intentional faith, and disaster relief.

Furthermore, the more exciting news is applications are now out for all students who are interested in being either participant or leader. Feel free to come by the Service-Learning Center to pick up applications or to chat with us more about questions that you have about the specific Spring Break Trip or just the application itself. Visit the link below, which will take you right to our website that includes the applications and more information about Spring Break Trips:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Kent County-Wide Food Drive is at the S-LC this coming Saturday, October 10

Like usual, we are so excited to be part of the annual ACCESS Food Drive that serves over 7000 households in Kent County each month . ACCESS is a twenty-five year old network of congregations and individuals that serves the greater needs of West Michigan neighborhoods in terms of hunger and poverty. One of their great programs is Hunger Initiative in which they have variety of food drives, pantry networks and food assistance programs that serve Kent County community.

Food Drives are designed to increase the supply of high needs items that sometimes are not always available at the food pantries such as soup, canned fruits and vegetable and personal care items. The County- Wide Food Drive is held on the second Saturday of October every year. It is ACCESS goal to collect close to 90 tons of food to help restock their food pantries which have been depleted after this summer.

Along with 1,700 volunteers, our office is hoping that we will see even a greater number of food items this year. Look for bright green boxes covered with Food Drive poster around campus or come into our office to drop off your donations. All nonperishable food items are collected on Friday, October 9th to be delivered to ACCESS on Saturday.