CONWAY, Ark. (May 30, 2012) - Ten Hendrix students traveled to Philadelphia, Pa., for a summer mission trip. The program was sponsored by the Hendrix Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling.
Student participants include:
- Colin Bagby '12 from Russellville, Ark.
- Dillon Blankenship '12 from Pea Ridge, Ark.
- Johnny English '13 from Youngsville, La.
- Hanna French '15 from Memphis, Tenn.
- DeAngelo Gatlin '12 from Little Rock, Ark.
- Eva Harpst '13 from Austin, Texas
- Abigail Nickle '14 from San Antonio, Texas
- Laura Price '15 Ponte Vedra, Fla.
- Josephine Reece '12 from St. Paul, Minn.
- Allison Sauls '12 from Shreveport, La.
The students were accompanied by religion professor Dr. Robert Williamson, English professor Dr. Toni Jaudon, and Michaela Fraser, a 2011 Hendrix graduate and Presidential Fellow for the Miller Center.
The group spent the week at Broad Street Ministry in the heart of Philadelphia working at several of their programs and with other partner agencies.
"The program provided by BSM had the group working with numerous non-profits around Philadelphia, thus ensuring that our students received a full-bodied understanding of the unique and ongoing challenges facing the homeless, poverty-stricken, and incarcerated populations in the area," said Fraser.
The group worked with the agencies and programs such as Broad Street Ministry; Books through Bars, which collects and sends books to prison inmates; St. Francis Inn, a family-style soup kitchen for North Philadelphia residents; Vendor for a Day, selling "One Step Away" newspapers written by members of the homeless population and sold as a means of providing a dignified income; Beacon, a Fishtown neighborhood faith community that invites people of all ages to grow together through arts, learning, and faith; Career Wardrobe, which helps women prepare for interviews and jobs by providing appropriate clothing options; Mill Creek Farm, an urban farm in West Philly, working to provide local, sustainable produce for the community with a strong educational component; and Philabundance, a major food depository for the many agencies working with the food insecure in the area.
"We got to see many different parts of the city, learn about complex social issues, and see first-hand, how a number of agencies are working on those issues of social justice," Fraser said. "Much of the time our group spent reflecting on our experiences was focused on discussing the difficult balance between serving the greatest number of people when the need is so high against ensuring an empowering and individualized experience for clients … in other words, finding the balance between providing immediate aid and working towards affecting more holistic change."
"Out of everything we did in Philadelphia I was most impressed by the people we met," said Reece. "They were all such passionate and reflective people working to patch up their part of the pie in creative and experimental ways."
"One thing I would single out was how wonderful it was to get to spend time with students. I'm always impressed by how intelligent my students are in class, but it's an even greater pleasure to get to know them outside the classroom," said Jaudon. "For me, a highlight of the trip was just getting to hear students talk about their histories, their motivations, and their hopes for the future-to learn about all the things that they bring to class with them that I usually don't get to see."
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. Hendrix was named the country's #1 "Up and Coming" liberal arts college for the third consecutive year by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2011 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 376 colleges and is listed in the 2012 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of 25 "Best Buy" private colleges included. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.