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King University News :: Spring Break and Stewardship Synonymous at King

BRISTOL, Tenn., March 20, 2014 – If you ask most college students they will say spring break brings images of the beach to mind. For several King University students, faculty, and staff spring break is all about helping those in need. Each spring break, KU sends several mission groups to locations both inside the U.S. borders and abroad. Over this spring break, March 8-16, King sent three groups on mission trips to Brooklyn, N.Y.; Camden, N.J.; and Léogâne, Haiti.

The concept of global citizenship is interwoven throughout all aspects of the educational experience at King University.  Students are taught to recognize themselves as part of a larger community so they may have an awareness of how their choices impact others not only locally, but regionally, nationally, and internationally.  Students are provided with a multitude of service opportunities, including mission experiences.

Léogâne, Haiti

On March 7, Amy Knowles, associate professor of Nursing, and Penny Neal, associate dean and associate professor of Nursing for King, along with former faculty member Tese Stephens and five of King’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students travelled to Leogane, Haiti. The student contingent included Shelly Shempert, Misty McCray, Amandi Proffitt, Shannon Roberts, all of which are in the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program, and Jackie Crow, who is in the MSN Administration program.

“We partnered with Faculté des Sciences Infirmières de l’Université Episcopale d’Haïti (FSIL), which is the only four-year baccalaureate nursing degree program in the country of Haiti,” said Knowles. “FSIL is also starting an FNP program, which is the first in [Haiti].

While at FSIL, King Nursing provided CPR training for students and mentored new FNP students. They also worked with the Hospital St Croix physicians and nursing staff. The group made rounds with the physicians, cleaned and organized a large central supply area, provided in-service for the director of nursing and nursing staff, and developed a strategy to get the hospital’s ambulance up and running so they would be able to respond to emergency situations.

“The trip was an incredible experience for the King team; we have established great connections to continue a long-term partnership with the school and hospital,” added Knowles. “Through our partnership, we hope to strengthen the nursing education and practice within the country of Haiti.”

Misty McCray shared her insights gained from the trip. “I learned that the nurses in Haiti have become monstrously resourceful in utilizing what is available to them for patient care and using those resources in such a way that the patient continues to be the priority and is cared for in a manner that demonstrates an enormous respect for patient rights and compassionate care. The commitment to education is an immense undertaking and they go to lengths that Americans would not comprehend in order to succeed and make a difference not only in their own lives but also in the lives of their families and fellow Haitians.”

Brooklyn, New York

A King contingent of 14 travelled to Brooklyn, N.Y., to serve as volunteers for the CAMBA. Founded in 1977, CAMBA is a non-profit agency that connects people with opportunities to enhance their quality of life. They offer more than 150 integrated services and programs in economic development, education and youth development, family support, health, housing and legal services. CAMBA serves more than 45,000 individuals and families, including 9,000 youth each year. On Dec. 6, 2013, The National and New York Housing Conferences named CAMBA/CAMBA Housing Ventures “Non-Profit of the Year.”

The CAMBA mission group was comprised of trip leaders Mary Beth Dingus, area coordinator, and Alexander Brumlik, assistant professor of Business for King, along with 12 students including junior Jonathan Dunn, junior Tom Lamkin, junior Jeremy Stamper, senior Nathaniel Greene, junior Caleb Greene, senior Sarah Trent, freshman Samantha Taylor, junior Kaleigh Bivens, sophomore Tessa Klingensmit, freshman Courtney Hicks, sophomore Chelsea Compton, and freshman Lindsey Kihnel.

“We have developed a wonderful relationship with CAMBA over the years with in large part due to King alumna Melissa Mowery (‘90), who serves as the program director for CAMBA’s Homelessness Prevention Initiative,” said Dingus. “King is currently the only college/university from which CAMBA accepts volunteers.”

While working for CAMBA, KU students provided assistance to Human Resources, HomeBase Program, Fiscal Auditing, Flagstone Family Shelter, Food Pantry, and Park Slope Women’s Shelter. Among the many tasks students helped with, they included filing, bagging, cleaning, reorganizing, moving office spaces, organizing over 1,200 books for a new shelter library, and even conducted a food demonstration, making and providing recipes to participants for the Tennessee Orange Salad.

Dingus added that she hoped the students would come away from the trip with a better understanding of diversity. “What better place to learn about diversity than in New York.”

Camden, New Jersey

Thirteen King students spent their spring break serving at Urban Promise in Camden, N.J. The Urban Promise group was comprised of trip leaders Dan Kreiss, assistant professor of Bible and Youth Ministry, and Emily Louden, director of Student Life for King, along with 13 students including senior Julian Cabra, freshman Sarah Collins, senior Kayla Bartosch, senior Mickensie Neely, junior Kaitlin Robinson, junior Tyler Logan, freshman Matt Parkes, junior Sarah Guy, junior Andy Hill, junior Blake Adams, senior T.J. Killelea, senior Rhianna Fillers, and junior Kyle Huffman.

Twenty-five years ago the vision and mission of UrbanPromise was conceived in a dusty church basement in East Camden, NJ. A small group of college missionaries created a summer camp for neighborhood children--providing a safe, loving, fun and creative place for local youth to escape dangerous city streets. Today, the mission is to equip Camden children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth, and Christian leadership.

Sadly, Camden, N.J., is best known as the poorest city in the U.S., with the highest murder rate and highest crime rate per capita. However, there are great programs in Camden working to make a difference in the lives of those who call this city home including UrbanPromise.

“Over the course of the week, I saw a difference in our students, not only as a result of the nature of the mission work they are doing but also in the recognition and understanding of the diverse nature that exists from region to region in the United States,” said Louden.

While in Camden, King students spent time much of their time working with the kids of Camp Freedom, one of eight after school and summer camp programs located throughout the city.

One of the Camp Freedom kids that King students worked with during last year’s mission trip was Arie Love Burton. “I met Arie last year; she was such a sweet girl,” said Louden.  

Just a day after King students arrived at Camp Freedom, Arie, just nine years old, passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident. UrbanPromise President Bruce Main wrote in the organization’s blog that “Arie sparkled like a diamond.” He added, “In the midst of their grief, her family made an incredible decision: to honor Arie's sweet and giving personality, they donated her organs to others in need. Her heart was given to a child in desperate need of a transplant.”

Just a week prior to Arie’s passing, she won second place out of 15 in the UrbanPromise Poetry Contest in which most of the submissions were from junior high students (poem shown below). Tony Vega, Arie’s camp director said of her work, “Her poem was brilliant. Her words so insightful…beyond her years. She was so happy and proud of her accomplishment.”

As is an indelible trait for King students, they came together and rallied alongside UrbanPromise staff to provide assistance as everyone began the grieving process during a truly challenging time.

While in Camden, KU students also spent time cleaning up the campus and a local park, as well as provided help with yard work and furniture moving at a local home in the community, and set-up for an UrbanPromise fundraiser. King students also helped the youth with homework and played games in addition to helping with the Junior High Olympics, STOMP, and a lip-sync competition.

Any student, faculty, or staff member from King University who has participated in a mission/service trip will tell you they have been changed. The depth of meaning behind the words in the poem written by a nine year old girl growing up in less than ideal circumstances is the one of the reasons why King University seeks to instill in its students a sense of servant leadership through cross-cultural experiences such as mission trips both at home and abroad. Arie’s poem echoes the importance of becoming global citizens who seek to build meaningful lives of achievement and cultural transformation in Christ.

POEM By Arie Love Burton

Kids are crying
People are dying
See the world that I’m living in?

People are talking ghetto in the streets and kids repeat
Do you see the world I live in?

Don't ever be a bystander cause kids would think that’s cool

If you’re getting bullied don’t let him grind you in the dirt
Because he's just a jerk
He tries to hurt you because he's hurt
But deep inside he's not a jerk
He thinks that’s how things work.

Do you know who he is?
He is Camden.
Camden wasn’t a bully at first
Until we started treating him like dirt
That’s why he's a bully
But deep inside he's not a bully.
Do you see the world I’m living in?


King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.