Urban Initiative unveils updates

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Urban Initiative is a favorite Westmont program that involves a diverse group of students with one mission — to serve those in the community who may be on the margins of society. In the past, the program has been best known for Spring Break in the City, an opportunity for students to head to San Francisco, Los Angeles or Santa Barbara for spring break in order to work alongside other service ministries there. Jeremy Fletcher, Assistant Director for Campus Life Ministries, said, “Service learning is essential to the Christian liberal arts college because of the role it plays in providing cohesive and integrated opportunities to connect the dots between the intellectual pursuit and the Biblical mandate to live life on mission.”

Westmont was previously home to a program called WSM (Westmont Student Ministries), which handled all of the local service opportunities for student involvement. This past summer, Westmont made the decision to disband the program and distribute the ministries into individual clubs. Urban Initiative, in response, decided to absorb five of these ministries:

Bread of Life:
A ministry dedicated to feeding the homeless and less privileged in our town. Students serve meals in Alameda Park every week to the homeless community while building relationships and sharing the gospel.

Conversation Café:
A weekly gathering in the Adobe Center for international students to engage in conversation and community. “Conversation Cafe strives to provide a safe space where people of all cultures and countries can come and practice their conversational English,”said fourth-year Aleah Bond. “We desire to show our faith in Christ through example as we interact with people of different faith and personal backgrounds.”

East Side Kids Club:
A faith-based gathering for children of the East Side every week where they can come and be invested in, while having a good time.

Street Health Outreach:
A program that provides basic medical care for our neighbors on the streets.

West Side Ministries:
A movement that works with children and their families on the West Side of Santa Barbara while addressing practical problems and building meaningful relationships.

By incorporating these new ministries, Urban Initiative exemplifies their motto: “a hub for community engagement and student involvement.” Some upcoming opportunities include a training session on homelessness ministry on Oct. 9 and 23 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., as well as Fall Break Away, an opportunity over the four-day weekend to spend three days in one of three cities, serving and learning about urban issues. You can contact the core team at urban_initiative@westmont.edu for more information if you’re interested in getting involved in our community.


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