by Danielle Fecteau
Each year, Rochester College’s Campus Ministry coordinates Urban Plunge, a week-long service immersion experience over Spring Break, where students work with churches, homeless shelters, nonprofit organizations and neighborhoods providing hope and love for Detroit.
Students are able to have a taste of the city that is so close to Rochester Hills and to experience what it feels like to serve in an urban setting.
Matt Sanders, a senior biology major, has been on the trip twice. “It’s really cool to be able to experience a part of Detroit that you may not otherwise experience,” he said.
The team stays at Hope House Detroit, a nonprofit serving Detroit youth, and works closely with the staff there. Hope House is a home where children can go after school or on weekends to participate in community with each other, while being encouraged by positive Christian role models.
The staff and volunteers at Hope House have created multiple programs and activities, including a reading program for elementary school children, weekly Bible studies for middle school and high school kids, a computer club, and neighborhood-wide events for the entire community to enjoy.
The 2016 Urban Plunge group is led by Candace Cain, dean of students, and by UP student leaders Brayton Boyd and Peighton Douglas. Other students serving are Laura Webb, Ciana Proctor, Johnny Lykins, Deven Renfroe, Madeline Salem, Amber Joseph, Brett Farris, Jada Perdue and Shelby Kurschat.
Varied Service Learning Opportunities
By choosing to spend Spring Break in Detroit, students are given the opportunity to work not only with Hope House, but also with other organizations in the area, such as:
- JJ’s House, a foster /adoption home
- Focus: Hope, a civil and human rights organization with job training and other outreach programs
- I Am My Brother’s Keeper, a ministry to the homeless
- Life Challenge, one-year residential program for men and women with drug, alcohol, and other life-controlling addictions.
- Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Earthworks Urban Farm, a certified organic farm in Detroit that builds a food system through education, inspiration and community development
Urban Plunge is expanding in 2016 with a team also serving in Chicago.