For years, cookies have been appearing in Advent, like magic, to help fund summer mission trips for the young people of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Ill.Read more
Additional Sites for 2016
Not included in UCC Mission Trip Opportunities 2016 Booklet
Broad Street Ministry Youth Initiative (Philadelphia, PA)
Contact: Devin Johns, Coordinator of the Youth Initiative and Alternative Break
315 S Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215)735-4847 ext. 108
Broad Street Ministry (“BSM”) is a broad-minded Christian community that practices radical hospitality and works for a more just world through civic engagement. The services and activities are designed to build trust, foster community and alleviate the suffering of neighbors facing homelessness, hunger and poverty works with the Oglala Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Volunteers participate in work projects across the Reservation, helping rebuild relationships, homes and lives.
Projects/Focus: The Youth Initiative of Broad Street Ministries breaks large volunteer groups into smaller work groups. Those groups out into the city to serve Philadelphia agencies working in the areas of food justice, housing, HIV/AIDS awareness, urban gardening, and summer neighborhood youth programs. Work sites provide hands-on volunteer projects, including an education component on their addressed issue. The purpose of the group’s experience is education on issues of homelessness, food insecurity and poverty; reflection on mindful and meaningful stewardship; and exploration of how to carry out lifelong discipleship.
Educational/Advocacy Components: The Youth Initiative provides staff to accompany all participants throughout their volunteer work experiences during the day. Staff lead formal and informal conversations throughout each day to field questions, start conversations, and educate the youth and adult participants on the particular area addressed by their volunteer site. Each work group is given a variety of different work experiences throughout the week in order to introduce and educate on the most areas of justice possible. Areas covered include LGBTQ issues, food and housing insecurity, addiction, mass incarceration and reentry, mental health, and women’s issues.
The Youth Initiative also designs a curriculum of evening programming. Youth Initiative staff lead large and small group discussions to link the days’ service to Scripture to identify ways to do justice and love mercy. The curriculum involves large and small group discussion, tactile and creative activities, prayer, and reflective debriefing. Workshops help groups plan how to continue serving their home communities after they have concluded their time with the Youth Initiative.
Trinity United Church of Christ (Wooster, Ohio)
Contact: Melissa Blyth
150 East North St
Wooster, Ohio 44691
Trinity is located in Wooster Ohio which is the seat of Wayne County. It is approximately 50 miles South, South West of Cleveland and 35 miles South West of Akron. Trinity hosts a free hot, healthy breakfast, five days a week for the community. We serve an average of 65 people per day. The program requires 100 volunteer hours each week. 18,000 meals were served in 2015.
Projects/Focus: Volunteer groups will begin each day by working with Trinity volunteers preparing and serving our Breakfast Program. Following breakfast they will have the opportunity to work with one of several community organizations including MOCA House (a local mental health drop in center), People to People Ministries (a local food pantry), Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Community Gardens, STEPS (Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention Services), Every Women’s House (Domestic Violence Shelter, Advocacy and Education Center), Friendship Meals, and the Wilderness Center.
Educational/Advocacy Components: Educational components can be arranged on a variety of issues based on the interests of the work group. Because the church hosts a number of 12 step programs, serve a morning breakfast program, and connect people to social services in the community such as the mental
health drop in center, ecumenical connections, and service agencies in town and the College of Wooster, a variety of related presentations and direct conversations can be provided on: Addiction, Poverty, Homelessness, Community Organizing, Mental Health Networks, Environmental Issues and the Amish and Mennonite communities. These would be led by church members or staff, ecumenical partners or participants in these programs.
Time: Monday through Saturday opportunities available all year. Application deadline is 4 weeks prior to the event.
Group Size: 20 people maximum
Minimum Age: 13 years
Adult to Youth Ratio: 1:5
Accommodations: Mission volunteers are housed on the third floor of the church’s education building with a total of 40 beds (4 rooms of 5 bunks each). There are two restrooms each with one shower, two toilets and two sinks. A gathering room has a sink, microwave and refrigerator. Volunteers will need to bring their own bedding and toiletries.
Cost: $200 per person per week. Includes lodging, Monday-Friday breakfast and packed lunch and 2 evening meals.
St. Vrain Habitat for Humanity (Longmont, CO)
Contact: Rebecca Shannon, Volunteer Coordinator
St. Vrain Habitat for Humanity
P.O. Box 333, Longmont, CO 80502
Phone: 303-682-2485 x 102
The Disaster Event: Flooding and mudslides during September 2013 destroyed 1500 buildings with damage to hundreds more. Over 2400 square miles were affected.
Work Needed: Repair/Rebuild homes impacted by flooding and mudslides.
Preparation for the trip: “Mission Trips That Matter” by Don C. Richter, Upper Room Books.
On-Site Reflection: “Meeting God in the Ruins: Devotions for Disaster Volunteers” Copies will be provided at group housing site. Additional free copies may be ordered from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by calling 800.638.3522 ext. 2580. (ISBN: 6-0001-6788-1); pay shipping only.
Follow up Action: Help your local community prepare for possible disaster and response, be sure your local congregation has a plan in case of a local disaster and get to know your UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator and stay involved.
Time: Long-Term Recovery
Group Size: 20 maximum
Minimum Age: 16; youth to adult ratio 5:1
Accommodations: Mission House.
Cost: Contact site for cost.