By: Maddie Russo
Photo courtesy of Viktoria Gillon
The people of Guatemala wept and cheered when the clean, fresh water came pouring out of the water pump. Viktoria Gillon quickly wiped tears from her eyes realizing that her problems back in the United States were miniscule compared to the lives of these people.
“I was going through a difficult time in my life and had the opportunity to go to Guatemala with Living Water International, and it forever changed my life,” said Gillon, a junior strategic corporate communications major. “It allowed me to see that people need help and we are so fortunate here in the U.S. that we get caught up in our own bubble.”
At Chapman, students often travel to foreign countries, staying in luxurious hotels and spending money on extravagant clothing to reach a level of satisfaction.However, it’s important to shed light on the alternative ways that students are finding satisfaction.
Instead of spending money on themselves, these students are spending money to volunteer in service to change lives. In return they have had an experience that forever changed theirs.
“In Portland I washed the feet of several homeless people as a part of a greater night of ministry,” explain Cole Jackson, sophomore public relations and advertising major. “It was an incredibly humbling experience that taught me what service and humility truly mean, and how far I was from it in my daily life. I will never forget that night.”
Chapman offers a variety of “Alternative Breaks” throughout the year including travels during the summer, winter and spring breaks. There are people in need as close to us as Los Angeles and up the coast. In San Francisco, families make up upwards of 25% of the homeless population. This spring Chapman offered a trip to San Francisco to help provide shelter, clothing, food and after school tutoring for kids.
Besides individual breaks, Chapman is also home to organizations such as Global Medical Brigades.
“Global Medical Brigades specifically mobilizes university students to set up temporary health clinics in rural communities throughout Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Ghana,” said Megan Schrotenboer, junior, health science major. “On each brigade, we have 3 clinic days where community members are able to receive a consultation with a licensed physician, as well as any medications that they are prescribed.”
Arielle Berger, sophomore, strategic corporate communications major, ended up on her service trip by following an advertisement link on Facebook.
“I casually clicked on it and then started to do more research, ended up reading fantastic reviews and then went on two of the trips with my best friend,” said Berger.
Gillon began taking her mission trips when she started out just looking for something to get involved in preparation for her Miss California USA.
“I quickly realized that my experience in Guatemala changed my life far more than just needing an organization to be involved in. It became a passion of mine that has changed my life immensely,” said Gillon.
Next time you are looking for something to do during a break, look into Chapman’s Alternative Break options and see if it might be something for you.