The Agape Center is the campus hub for service learning. Known to contribute to the service aspect of Christ, it “develops, administers resources and coordinates programs of service learning, community service and missions,” according to their website.
The Agape Center has three branches which consists of service trips, outreach and Human Rights Awareness (HRA). The organization also provides weekly opportunities to serve throughout the fall semester at locations such as Messiah Lifeways, Paxton Ministries, Salvation Army breakfast, Catholic Worker House, Center for Champions, New Hope Ministries, Bethesda Mission Youth Center, Bethesda Youth Center Teen “Hot Spot” Night, Boys and Girls Club after school program and the Salvation Army after school program.
The local outreach team has 14 community partners in Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg. Student teams are sent out to each partner every week. For service trips, students often have the opportunity to visit places like New York or Miami during school breaks.
According to Nora Nworu, a junior social work major and outreach coordinator for the Bethesda Youth Center after school program, outreach provides the opportunity for students to volunteer with community partners that are within the neighborhood.
“Service was what Christ did on earth, and it should not be seen as a recreational activity. It takes work, but it does not even compare to the joy that stems from it,” Nworu said.
In addition to outreach, Human Rights Awareness (HRA) hosts events on campus that deal with a wide range of human rights issues to inform the student body and local community. Topics vary from immigrant and refugee issues, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and much more.
The biggest event that HRA is hosting this fall is “Everyday Activism”, a six week chapel series. “Each chapel talks about a different facet of activism, including talking to your political representative, social media activism and compassion fatigue,” said Madilyn Keaton, HRA director and senior environmental science major.
As students register for service trips and volunteer opportunities, the Agape Center brings together “faith in action” in the community. Students can grow by using what they have learned into the classroom, and putting it into practice. Going on a service trip or attending HRA events allows students to gain that experience, and build deeper relationships with each other.
The Agape Center will have domestic J-Term break service trips from February 1-4, 2018. There will be service trips in Baltimore, Carmel, Bronx and Newark. Applications will go live on Nov 29, and trip leader applications are due on January 12, 2018.
If you are interested in other volunteer opportunities, visit the Agape Center webpage or stop by the Agape Center from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to learn more.