Student-Athletes Volunteeer with FCA During Spring Break

MOUNT PLEASANT – While many college students were spending their spring break on a carefree trip to an exotic locale, a group of student-athletes from Central Michigan University spent their week working to enrich the lives of others.

Student-athletes representing the football, field hockey, volleyball, soccer, men’s track and field and women’s track and field programs partnered with CMU’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and His House to participate in mission trips to Lakeland, Fla. and Rock Hill, S.C. during CMU’s spring break last month.

The Lakeland group worked with both Lighthouse Ministries and Parker Street Ministries. Through Lighthouse, the group worked behind the scenes at a Goodwill store, helping organize, sort, label, and price all clothes and items fit to be sold in one of their stores within Lakeland.

Parker Street Ministries is a Christ-centered, non-profit organization committed to individual, family and community restoration, reconciliation and revitalization in Lakeland’s Parker Street community.

Josh Chaffin of His House was the Lakeland trip leader.

“The Parker Street area has been ravaged by poverty, drugs, and crime but Parker Street Ministries is helping people rebuild their lives and the community,” said Chaffin.

Cody Wilson and a group of 15 His House and FCA members volunteered with an after-school program.

“We would play with a bunch of kids from first through eighth grade for a few hours every day as well as tutoring them and helping them with school,” said Wilson.

The Rock Hill group spent 15 hours in a van headed down to the Carolinas. The first few days were spent cleaning the bathrooms of local businesses.

“At first our team was a bit hesitant about cleaning bathrooms,” said Katelyn Christensen , “but in the end, it really wasn't about cleaning bathrooms. It was about serving others and spreading God's love.”

The Rock Hill group spent some time with Elevation Church in the Charlotte area helping with its “Stuff the Truck” initiative and other things the church needed done. The group was mostly focused on helping kids.

Two groups of FCA and His House members went to the Children's Attention Home in Rock Hill. One group would tutor kids, while the other group did more outside work.

“One day the work group repaired and sorted roughly 80 bikes for the kids, pumping up tires, fixing chains and tightening handle bars,” said Christensen. “We had quite the assembly line of bikes going.”

Other projects that the group worked on included stuffing over 2,000 envelopes for the home's monthly newsletter, cleaning out food storage rooms, organizing closets, sorting and folding clothes, working on the kids' homes they lived in and fixing basketball rims.

Every afternoon, the group teamed up with Nexxus Church and Soar Sports. Nexxus Church transported area youth to the church to participate in a free sports camp that CMU’s student-athletes assisted with.

“The coaches would help facilitate the games and activities that the kids would participate in, and they had a contest to see which group scored the most points throughout the week,” said Christensen. “Here in Charlotte, our group formed many relationships with the kids that would leave a lasting impression on our hearts.”

Student-athletes participating in the Rock Hill, S.C. trip were Katelyn Christensen (track and field), Ryan Radcliff (football), Brian Bennyhoff (football), Val DeWeerd (volleyball), Connor Gagnon (football), Mykal Imbrock (track and field), Tim Phillips (football), Maddie Ribant (track and field) and Misha Lamphere (track and field). Those that traveled to Lakeland, Fla. were Cody Wilson (football), Greg Knaus (track and field), A.J. Westendorp (football), Ross Parsons (track and field), Liesel Toth (soccer), Anastasia Netto (field hockey), Avery Cunningham (football) and Ryan Brooks (track and field).

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