Community Engagement Initiative Reflections

Here’s what some past Community Engagement Initiative participants have said about their experiences:

“Dear Broad Street Ministry, You gave me something to think about this week, a lot of things actually. Without you, I probably would have just been sitting at home over spring break, but instead I’ve been able to do much more exciting things. I was able to really see some of the large problems that we have as people because of your instruction and guidance. I learned more about ways to advocate for those the world wouldn’t listen to if they did it for themselves. But the most important thing that your taught me was that everyone is deserving of unconditional love and that’s something I will carry with me wherever I go. So I want to promise you that I will try my hardest to spread this love and this caring attitude when I leave. Thank you for all you’ve done. And thank you for believing in 40 high schoolers enough to trust them with tasks as important as these.” — High school participant in March 2016 Alternative Break

“It was a truly incredible, heartwarming, and inspiring trip. It brought everyone in Fishtown and many in Philly closer, by breaking down barriers, I was able to really appreciate things I take for granted and see how difficult life can be for others. The mission trip was unlike any other trip, and it truly impacted thousands of lives.” —High school participant, March 2016 Alternative Break

“…as UKIRK visited Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, we had a complete break from our normal lives. We stepped away from the college classrooms and academic articles and stepped into the reality of mental health, homelessness, and poverty. For four days we were totally immersed with activity after activity, listening to story after story. We did not have the luxury of being able to walk away from a discussion or turn off our device in order to stop thinking about these societal ills. Instead of dealing with these topics simply from an intellectual standpoint, we engaged in a verbal, kinesthetic, interpersonal and sensory way that validates, listens to, dignifies, awakens, and actualizes these societal issues. There seemed to be an individualism that was sucked from the week to reawaken ourselves to the role of the community that Christ taught us to actively engage in. While our ‘theme’ for the week was ‘mental health,’ the issue could have been any society-wide obstacle. However, it was the framework that Broad Street Ministry charged and challenged us with at the end of the week that we bring back to our community of Wooster as our spiritual tool box, filled with instruments of urgency, community, reawakening to reality, vulnerability, etc.” — Leader from the College of Wooster UKirk, January 2016 Alternative Break

“Every person I’ve met through the work sites have been genuinely good and incredible people. I feel lucky to have met them. I’m the one who was helped.” –BSMYI Participant, Summer 2017

“Breaking Bread and motto of “enough” creates a safe place for people to come experience community and being served. The lack of lines takes away the tension in the room as everyone is treated like an honored guest. Competition has been taken away. Replaced by gathering around the table.” –BSMYI Participant, Summer 2017

“I realized how important it is to know the community in which you are serving. We shared Philly with BSM’s guests. On Wednesday night we ran into a friendly guest on South Street and he sang for us and we enjoyed a passing moment of fellowship. We were equals. It was lovely.” –BSMYI Participant, Summer 2017

“Here at BSM I realized that judging people is not the answer. Everyone has a different story. Don’t judge a book by its cover! Just because they’re not like you doesn’t mean they don’t belong.” –BSMYI Participant, Summer 2017