North Central College - Naperville, IL

Students travel nationwide to serve, build, sing

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2011 football team serving with Habitat in S.C.
2011 football team serving with Habitat in S.C.

During North Central College’s spring break, March 14-25, students will travel across the country through trips organized by the College. Some 65 students will participate in a variety of service trips and another 50 will be on tour with the Concert Choir.

Every year, North Central’s Office of Ministry and Service offers spring break service trip opportunities for student and staff volunteers. This year, the office has organized five trips. Three include Habitat for Humanity trips to Hattiesburg, Miss., Huntsville, Ala., and Pendleton County, W.V., where volunteers will assist with the construction of homes. Two more student trips will head to Philadelphia and New York City to work with the Center for Student Missions. Students will live in the cities, learn about the communities and help with urban outreach work and afterschool programs, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

North Central’s football players involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes independently organizes an annual trip to work with Habitat for Humanity. For the past four years, players from the football team along with Gary Ireland, director of student development and assistant dean, have traveled to Johns Island, S.C., to build homes.

“Instead of participating in what I call ‘tourism service projects’ where you go in and serve for a week and never return, we try to return to the same place every year so that we can make a longer, more lasting impact on a particular area,” Ireland said.

North Central’s Office of Multicultural affairs also offers an annual spring break trip for students to engage in serve and culture understanding. This year, students will go to the Oklahoma cities of Ponca City, Boley and Tulsa to learn about African-American and Native American history. They will also renovate facilities for the Ponca Indian tribe, mentor middle and high school students at Booker T. Washington High School and at A Pocket Full of Hope, a community organization where youth are empowered through the performing arts.

The College’s 50-member touring Concert Choir will travel through states in the South and the Midwest for its spring concert tour. Students will perform eight concerts in Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, in addition to a kickoff performance in Naperville March 11.