Taking a Break to Help the Less Fortunate

Westmont students traveled across borders and state lines during spring break, and about 340 of them served the less fortunate in various places.

A CNN story about tourism in Mexico featured senior Hanna Walker building one of the six homes students constructed in Ensenada, Mexico. Students established Potter’s Clay, a student-led service project in Ensenada, in 1977. Jordan Evans, this year’s co-director, says students and contractors bonded with the families getting the homes. “They ate meals together, stayed at the homes together and celebrated at the end of the week together,” he says.

Students also repaired the roof to a house that burned while they were in Ensenada. The day after they saw flames and smoke, they demolished the roof, ordered new roofing materials and got to work repairing the home. Several Santa Barbara contractors, including Todd Ridenour ’86 and Jim Peterson, joined 10 students in working extra hours to finish the job.

“It was amazing to see how a disaster became an opportunity to bless the family and bring the local community together,” Evans says. “The residents of Ensenada held a fundraiser to support the family, which lost many household items in the fire.”

Closer to home, more than 60 students completed service projects in Santa Barbara. Shannon Hickey, who graduated in December, led A Rocha, a Christian environmental initiative. The group repaired a garden and planted pots for Cleveland Elementary School students, took junior high students to Lane Family Farms, and weeded and planted at Rancheria Gardens.

Students also traveled to Los Angeles and San Francisco for the annual Spring Break in the City, working in inner-city neighborhoods.

A group volunteered at the John M. Perkins Foundation in Mississippi, learning about Christian community development and racial and economic justice. They refurbished homes for underserved families and provided after-school programs for children. During a trip to Birmingham, Ala., they learned more about the civil rights movement.

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