Student volunteers needed in Haiti
RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--Wondering what to do with your summer? The International Mission Board needs students willing to spend two weeks serving in Haiti.
IMB is sounding an urgent call for 275 Christian students to work with children displaced by the earthquake that struck the island nation Jan. 12.
Beginning May 15, the IMB will send teams of 25 student volunteers to spend two weeks ministering to children in refugee camps, orphanages, schools and villages near Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic.
Mike Lopez, IMB director of student mobilization, says the teams' goal will be to "restore a sense of normalcy" to the lives of Haitian children who have endured considerable trauma since the earthquake. Ministry opportunities will include recreation, sports, music, art, English and math tutoring as well as some manual labor.
The students' work will open doors for full-time missionaries to continue work in these communities in the future, Lopez notes.
Eleven teams will be sent between May 15 and July 24 -- the last team returns to the United States Aug. 7. So far more than 90 students have signed up from 10 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Students will be housed in a fenced compound with electricity and running water in the Dominican Republic. Men will sleep in large tents on the grounds of the compound; women will sleep indoors. Meals will be provided.
The opportunity is open to students ranging from rising high school seniors to recent college graduates. Adult-led teams from colleges, churches or campus ministries are preferred over individual volunteers; teams can be as small as three people or as large as 25.
Students will need a passport valid for six months beyond the planned date of return from Haiti. No vaccinations are required, but the Centers for Disease Control recommends several; visit their site at cdc.gov.
For more information, visit to gohaiti.org or call 1-888-421-4408.
Don Graham is a writer for the International Mission Board.