While college kids from across the country are enjoying spring break trips to party spots across the South, more than 100 Grove City College students will be spending a week in March doing volunteer and ministry work in inner cities at home and abroad.
The students are participants in the College’s Inner City Outreach (ICO) program, which will take them to Tucson, Ariz.; Ashland, Ky.; Chicago, Ill.; Los Angeles, Calif.; San Andres Sacabaja, Guatemala; Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They’ll go on their ICO trips during the College’s Easter Break from March 21 to March 25.
Since their inception in 1983, these trips have become a hallmark of the Grove City College. Although students are not required to participate, nearly one-third of the student body completes an ICO trip before they graduate.
“ICOs are a wonderful way for students to step out of their comfort zones and serve others,” Devayani Wintrode, director of Campus Ministries, said. “So many students go on an ICO for the first time and come back changed, looking at the world around them differently and realizing that they can make an impact wherever they are, whether across the globe or here on campus. It is always encouraging to see evidence that their personal faith has deepened, and to observe their continued relationships with the people they met while serving on the ICO.”
ICO trips involve Grove City College students traveling to cities to minister to others and share the Gospel. The program has grown to an average of 20 trips annually, with almost half to international destinations. ICO trips are student-initiated and student-led. Grove City College provides training and resources for the leaders of each approved trip.
Since 2008, more than 1,675 students have travelled on over 120 ICO trips. Some destinations, like India, China and Chile, required students immerse themselves in a culture entirely different from their own.
Alissa Winters ’18 travelled to Jamaica on an ICO in January 2016. Her trip was a welcome opportunity to not only learn about the culture she was visiting, but also learn from the people with whom she was interacting. “ICO Jamaica was crucial in opening my eyes to how we should be living our everyday lives as Christians. Sometimes I think we have to get outside of our routine and our sense of normalcy to allow ourselves to truly be open to God,” she explains.
“I thought at the beginning of the trip that I was going down to Jamaica and teach children, but in reality, they were the ones that taught me and showed me what love was. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to serve in Jamaica alongside incredible individuals who, too, were learning more about Christ as they were serving Him with abandon,” she said.
For more about Campus Ministries at Grove City College, visit: www.gcc.edu/campusministries.