USA (MNN) — This summer, more than 100
college students are giving up weeks of their summers to minister to the poor
in eight American cities, carrying on Here's Life Inner City's 26-year tradition of
"Summer in the City."
Each student will spend one to eight weeks between May and
August ministering in jails, rehab centers, food pantries, tutoring,
door-to-door ministry, and outreach events. The students not only give up the money they could make by working, they
cover the expenses for their trips to Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee,
Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, and Seattle.
"We send eager college students into the inner city for
close-range, heart-to-heart, hands-on ministry," said Ted Gandy, national
director of Here's Life Inner City. "These dedicated students positively impact the lives of inner-city kids
and families, not just for the summer, but for a lifetime."
Many students use simple beaded bracelets as evangelistic
tools. The children watch as the
bracelets are made and hear the story of what each bead represents. The yellow bead stands for the light of God's
love, the blue bead for the sadness of sin, the red for the blood of Jesus, the
clear bead for the cleansing of our sins, and the green for growing in
"Everyone I met during the summer outreach thanked me,
saying I could never know the impact made and the lives touched," said University of Virginia
student Emily Woodley, who participated last year in Summer in the City in Seattle. "But they will never know the impression they
left on my heart."
Often, Summer in the City participants go on to serve in
full-time urban ministry. Autumn Shadis,
a student at University Wisconsin-Madison, served in Los Angeles with Summer in the City. She's now interning at a church in Madison and working on a
Master's degree in Global Urban Ministry.
Virginia Tech student Amanda Giobbi joined Here's Life for a spring
break missions trip and interned with them after graduating from college. Today, she lives in Washington D.C.
and works as a full-time mentor to seven girls.
On her first urban missions experience, Amanda said, "I was just
brokenhearted by the poverty. I was out of my comfort zone – but somehow I also
felt at home. I felt like I had found my niche." She now has the privilege of witnessing
amazing transformation in the lives of "her girls."