Students Experience a Different Spring Break

by Rae McKee, Public Relations Writer

Most college students head for a beach during spring break. But many Cedarville University students have different plans this year, with a focus on helping others. 

Through Cedarville’s Global Outreach program, 154 students and faculty and staff members, making up 14 teams, will travel to different points across the globe to serve others during spring break.  Five teams will remain stateside, while nine teams will visit the Caribbean, the Middle East and South America. 

The teams will provide medical services, children’s ministries and construction assistance to the various groups. 

“It is amazing to see how open and vulnerable these people are and how we have a chance to care for them as people first and patients second,” said Allison Harlos, a senior nursing major from Tallmadge, Ohio, who has participated in previous spring break trips and is part of a medical missions team headed to El Salvador.
 
Cedarville is working with Global Health Outreach (GHO) for the second-straight year by providing medical, dental and surgical assistance for people in La Union, El Salvador, on the eastern border of the country. In addition, the team is also bringing a portable printer and digital camera to give photos to those they serve, as photographs are a rare item in the eastern region of El Salvador.

One of Cedarville’s stateside spring break teams will travel to Dearborn, Michigan, home to the highest concentration of Arab-Americans in the United States. The team will work with Angel House, an organization that helps serve the needs of immigrants through education, health services and counseling.

Angel House also provides unique learning opportunities for those outside the Arab-American population to learn more about Arab culture and Islam, which gives volunteers a better understanding of the people group with whom they are working.

The group will serve in a variety of capacities, including Angel House’s English as a second language (ESL) program, child care, after-school tutoring and more. In addition, team members will participate in Angel House’s immersion program, which allows students to tour the community, observe prayer at a local mosque and participate in a traditional Arabic meal.

“Working with the Arab community through Angel House gives us the chance to better understand Arabic culture, which helps us to have better interactions with a people group that is often viewed unfairly,” said Claire Anderson, a senior linguistics major from Peshtigo, Wisconsin, who is serving as the team leader. “They are a beautiful group of people, and we’re able to learn so much from our interactions with the religious leaders and the people of the community.”  

Jeff Lewis, Ph.D., associate dean of the school of pharmacy and facilitator of the GHO initiative in El Salvador, believes that spring break trips are not just about helping those in need, but about pushing student to grow in their relationships with different people groups.

“It makes you consider your behaviors and beliefs, engage in a new group of people and begin to think cross-culturally,” said Lewis. “It’s about making people uncomfortable and causing them to grow through experiencing another culture. After that, we begin to see people the way Christ sees them, past the barriers that we create.” 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.