About 262 Westmont students will spend spring break, March 11-18, volunteering for various service projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Salt Lake City, Mexico and Haiti. About 216 students traveled from Westmont to Ensenada on March 10 for Potter’s Clay, a student-led service trip that is celebrating its 40th anniversary, making it one of Westmont’s longest-running traditions. With the help of 30 professionals traveling alongside the students, volunteers will build homes, cut hair, prepare meals, lead prayer and worship as well as provide medical and dental care for Ensenada residents.
“We are building classrooms, extending a home to become a church, building dormitories for women at a seminary, and remodeling a church sanctuary,” says Rebecca Boa, assistant director of campus life for ministry and outreach. “I’m excited for students to deepen relationships they’ve made in past years and to develop new ones with both Westmont students and those in Ensenada,” Boa says.
Other students will be staying in California during spring break, partnering with local organizations that minister directly to under-served populations. “During our various trips, we will be learning to best serve the community, address urban issues and seek and share the Kingdom,” says Brooklyn Jervis, Urban Initiative local coordinator. 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, students will stay in Santa Barbara during spring break, partnering with local churches and missions organizations, engaging with issues of poverty, homelessness and at-risk youth.
Other students will be traveling to Salt Lake City to participate in conversation on interfaith dialogue and reconciliation. “We are looking forward to asking deep and meaningful questions about faith and engaging with others who believe differently,” says Katie Skiff, Urban Initiative publicity and travel coordinator.
Fourteen business majors and minors will be traveling to Port-de-Paix, Haiti, as an extension of their Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid course taught by Rick Ifland, professor of economics and business. Students have spent the semester preparing business plans, which they will launch upon their arrival, helping locals kick-start effective business models. “I am most looking forward to engaging with people who live in a different part of the world and to apply what we have learned in class to a wider global context,” says Ellie Haldors, a senior business minor.
Not only are the service trips student-initiated and led, but students are required to raise money for each trip. Students return to class Monday, March 20.