Northwestern College to send 160 on spring break service trips

Allison Wheeler interacting with childrenNorthwestern College student Allison Wheeler interacts with children on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico during a Spring Service Partnerships trip last year. Northwestern will send 13 teams of students, faculty and staff to sites around the world, including Mescalero, Feb. 29 through March 9.

Northwestern College will send 13 teams of students led by faculty and staff advisers on service trips across the United States and to three international destinations.

This year’s annual Spring Service Partnerships (SSP) are scheduled for Feb. 29 through March 9. More than 160 participants will travel to eight states, Ireland, Mexico and the Netherlands.

A new SSP destination is Waco, Texas, where 30 ministries operate under the Mission Waco umbrella. While living and working in north Waco neighborhoods, students will provide manual labor in the mornings, lead a street camp for kids in the afternoon, and worship at a church for the homeless known as the Church Under the Bridge, which began under an Interstate 35 bridge.

For a second consecutive year, Northwestern is partnering with Youthfront in Croc, Mexico. There the college’s students will serve alongside local leadership, working with youth in an after-school program or through vacation Bible school or camp-like activities. Other international destinations include Ireland, where students will partner with Dublin Christian Mission, a ministry that helps people who are homeless, and the Netherlands, where students will stay and serve at two Christian youth hostels in Amsterdam, sharing their faith with guests from around the world.

The rest of the teams in the U.S. are partnering with ministries in locations ranging from the East to West Coast and from Minnesota to Texas.

In Florida, Northwestern students will volunteer in local schools and after-school programs in Jacksonville. In California, they’ll join with Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount to paint homes, provide manual labor and build relationships in the community of Compton.

Two SSP teams will serve in and learn about Native American communities. Those going to the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota will help with a food pantry, spend time with a local church youth group, and complete work projects at a wilderness camp. Another team will travel to the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, where they will participate in the youth and children’s programs of Mescalero Reformed Church and do painting and manual labor.

Another two teams will travel to Louisiana. One group of students will provide tutoring and make neighborhood improvements in Opelousas, while the football team is sending 23 student-athletes to New Orleans to lead football camps for youth and do manual labor.

In Texas, in addition to the Mission Waco team, Northwestern students will serve in Lindale at Calvary Commission, a residential and educational center for ex-convicts. Other Northwestern students will partner with Youthfront and a Hispanic congregation in Kansas City to support after-school programs, a neighborhood farm, and preparations for a summer camp. And a final team will work with Mile High Ministries in Denver, where they will gain urban cross-cultural experience with poverty and homelessness.

SSP team members raise their own travel funds through their individual families, friends and churches, and through fundraisers on campus and in the community.

Northwestern College’s short-term mission programs bear the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Missions (SOE) seal, ensuring that participating organizations get mission teams that are of high quality. SOE standards include adequate pre-trip training and resources, as well as consistent post-trip follow-up and accountability.