Residential Service Trips

Every year there are at least three Residential Service Trips organized by the SMUS Service Department. Past trips have included:

Orphanage Outreach – Dominican Republic

This is our annual service based leadership trip to the “Hope of the Child” orphanage in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. The town is located on the north west corner of the DR on the coast approximately 40 miles from the Haitian border.

Orphanage-Outreach is a US based organization run by Tom Eklund. They have coordinated over 4000 volunteers over 12 years. The orphanage is home to over 40 boys and girls ranging in age from 2-18. Many of the children have grown up at the orphanage. The orphanage itself is run by Pastor Ramon and his wife Martha and while there is no overt religious pressure there is a conservative nature to the philosophy. The website will outline more specific guidelines.

A typical day at the orphanage involves some “jobs or projects”, but most of the time you are welcome to spend time with the orphans either playing, talking or teaching/tutoring them. There is also an opportunity to teach English, either in the local public school or at the English Institute run by Orphanage Outreach for the local children of Monte Cristi. The children all speak Spanish as a first language but are very keen to learn English. If they have been at the orphanage for a long time they will speak English quite well.

The trip also includes local cultural trips such as a visit to Dajabon, the market town on the border to Haiti.

The SMUS Junior School has been involved with this trip through organizing donations and Christmas Stockings for the children of the orphanage. They have also begun raising funds to build a library at the English Institute for the children of the town as well as the orphans.

Free The Children – Kenya School Building

This is an annual service-based leadership trip to a rural township in Kenya. While there will be down time for reflection we are looking to participate in a meaningful school building project. Our aim is to build our own school but we may be asked to continue work on an existing school. We will be working with local people and Free The Children leaders to ensure the success of the project. The work will be physically and emotionally demanding. There will be time for fun but you are immersed in a different culture and the days will be long. The trip typically takes place during the Spring Break and will be approximately three weeks long.

The Leadership training includes cultural and social issues education. Building on your volunteer experiences, you will confront complex social issues such as poverty and child labour through workshops and seminars that will empower critical thinking about the challenges facing Kenya today.

Activities might include working with local children and youth, assisting with community projects, helping at a rehabilitation center, or other meaningful tasks.

Free the Children – India School Building

Students will travel to Udaipur, India on the Free The Children school building trip during the March Break. Travel on winding roads to communities where you’ll spend your days building a school and getting to know some of the most marginalized people in the world. You’ll experience intensive leadership training, analyze complex social issue like poverty and child labour, and think critically about how you affect India and Asia as a whole.

This trip will involve four specific elements: school building in a rural area, leadership training, working in the Mother Theresa orphanages, and a reflection/spiritual retreat. The leadership training includes cultural and social issues education. Building on your volunteer experiences, you will confront complex social issues such as poverty and child labour through workshops and seminars that will empower critical thinking about the challenges facing India today.

This is a service trip where the typical standards of living are very different from those encountered at home. Most days will involve 4-8 hours of physical labour building a brick school house and various other projects. Each day also includes leadership and cultural awareness work that will enable students to develop a more complete understanding of how to continue their efforts when they return home.