Celebration with a cause: Springfest funds set to help Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf

This year ASWU decided that all proceeds from Springfest 2011 will be going to the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf, where many Whitworth students have taken their spring breaks to volunteer their services. Two years ago a group of Whitworth students started going to Jamaica during spring break so they could volunteer at the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf. Every spring break since, there has been a group that goes to volunteer. The Whitworth group primarily worked with the new construction going on at the school and set up a vacation bible school for some of the younger children.

Rick Hornor, the faculty advisor for the trip, wants the students who go to realize what they can do to change one person’s life.

“I used to feel that there was nothing I can do to help. I thought I was a pebble in the ocean,” Hornor said.

Hornor has come to realize that although he may not be able to save the world, he can still help.

“ I realized I can’t solve the worlds problems but I can make a difference in this one kid’s life,” Hornor said.

According to Trista VanBerkum, the ASWU S.E.R.V.E. coordinator and a volunteer for the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf, in poor cultures deaf children end up roaming the streets because their families do not have enough money to send them to a private school. Many people see these children as not capable of learning, but really they just do not have the tools to communicate with others. This school gives them those tools.

According to the Jamaica School for the Deaf website, “Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf actively seeks out deaf children and works with their families to make it possible for them to receive an education in a safe and positive Christian environment. Our desire is to see each student reach his or her full potential.”

For junior Elizabeth Holloway the students in Jamaica helped her grow just as much as she helped them.

“They are filled with love and joy in everything they do. I really admire that in them. I think we can take so much in learning from them,” Holloway said.

Holloway also said that through participating in this mission trip she realized why she was doing what she was doing. According to Holloway, people go on these mission trips expecting to have a singular mountaintop moment of realizing God, but for her God just affirmed her work. She found that she could spread God’s word and love with out having to speak directly about it, but by her actions.

Upon her return from volunteering in Jamaica, VanBerkum was determined to keep helping the school from thousands of miles away. According to Hornor, when the group left the school, there was one bag of rice left for the children.

“There are 32 kids that are really hungry. There is not enough food to give them,” Hornor said.

According to Hornor the group of adults working at the school makes huge sacrifices for these kids so they can feel that they are at home and in a safe environment, but it is hard to do that when the kids are hungry.

So this year when the Whitworth students came back from Jamaica, they realized that there is much more that they can and need to do to help the school. This year ASWU decided that the proceeds of Springfest 2011 will go to the school to help with food costs and construction costs.

For VanBerkum, this is an opportunity for Whitworth to continue to extend and build on a relationship that has been building for the last three years. Every donation that is made will make a difference.

“We don’t have to go to Jamaica to be God’s hands,” Horner said.

This year Springfest will be on Saturday, April 30th in loop. It starts at 11 a.m.

Kara Fisher

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