Students embrace opportunities to serve

by McKensey Richmond
Guest Writer

Whitworth’s Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement has three Spring Break service trips available for next March. Any interested students can apply for one of the week-long trips to Eden, Jamaica; Washington, D.C.; and Put Down Roots, Spokane. Originally, a trip to Los Angeles, Calif. was included, but was canceled due to a lack of interest.

Although the initial application deadline has passed, applications for the Put Down Roots will be accepted until the end of January.

Meredith Devey, the program coordinator for student leadership for the Service-Learning Center and Community Engagement, said these trips are “an opportunity for students to encounter the larger world and to see and be a part of a different community, a different culture, a different way of living, so that they can expand who they are and how they engage the world.”

It is Whitworth’s mission to “honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity” and Devey said, “It’s hard to serve if you don’t know who you are serving or what you are doing.” Therefore, they partner with other organizations who are “better equipped to know what is happening in the communities,” Devey said.

The trip to Eden, Jamaica, which will be led by staff leader Jack Dunbar and student leader Elizabeth Porter, will partner with an organization called Mission Discovery. Students will work at one of two work sites: the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf, where students will build new classrooms, and the Blossom Garden Children’s Home, where the students will help and play with the children in the orphanage.

The estimated cost for the Jamaica trip is $2,150, but Devey said it will be lower after participants fundraise.

Staff leader Cristopher Tietsort and student leaders Laura Kester and Brianna Herron will lead the trip to Washington, D.C. They will partner with the Center for Student Missions and students will serve the homeless, help out at an after-school children’s club and explore the city throughout the week, Tietsort said.

The estimated cost for the D.C. trip is $1,300 before fundraising. The Spokane trip is the cheapest, costing only $70. The trip will partner with Spokane’s First Presbyterian church. Student leader Bethany Grenfell will lead the trip.

“My hope is that these wouldn’t just be typical missions trips, but for every trip that goes out, the students would be able to listen to the community in which they are going to engage and partner with them to meet the community’s identified needs,” Devey said.

Guatemala is being looked into as feasible trip for this year or for future years, Devey said.

Contact McKensey Richmond at

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