More than 300 Westmont students and local volunteers will travel to Mexico, as part of Potter’s Clay, helping the under-served in Ensenada this spring break, March 8-15. Potter’s Clay, a student-organized service trip that started in 1977, is one of Westmont’s longest-running traditions. Students will also serve with Spring Break in the City, serving in San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
Students will begin leaving campus Friday, March 8, through Saturday, March 9. Once in Mexico, teams will build three homes, three churches and repair homes that Potter’s Clay crews built 20-30 years ago. They will also host medical, dental and optical clinics at various locations throughout the week, operate vacation Bible school programs and provide sports clinics. The surf ministry and creative dance team have been expanded in hopes of continuing to connect with young adults who may be attracted to gangs and crime.
A new team, the mobile salon, will serve mistreated women. Avary Mitchell, Potter’s Clay creative communication manager, says they’ve expanded the haircutting ministry to include manicures. “We are attempting to reach out to abused and exploited women in Ensenada through the addition of a manicure team,” she says. “We have forged partnerships with churches in Mexico who’ll be leading us in the right direction,” she says. “It’ll be an adventure to see how this week actually plays out, and to have a better idea for how this ministry can take off.”
Jake Allbaugh, Potter’s Clay sports director, was a team leader for the inaugural surf team last year and is looking forward to returning to Mexico. “One of my passions is surfing and I love sharing this with others,” he says. “My vision for the surf ministry is to create a safe, encouraging environment that allows anyone with a desire to surf to get up on a board. Surfing is a great way to connect and build relationships with the local people in Ensenada while enjoying God’s creation.”
Other students will be staying in California during spring break, partnering with local organizations that minister directly to the under-served populations there. The week-long experience in Los Angeles and San Francisco is usually intense and transformative for students who seek to both understand urban issues and assist long-term workers.
Locally, more than 170 students have volunteered in Santa Barbara during spring break in the past four years, partnering with churches and local missions organizations such as the Turner Foundation and the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.