On a mission | Ohio Wesleyan University

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On a mission

Wesleyan students in Ohio spend spring break serving others

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Two teams of Ohio Wesleyan University students spent a week helping others as part of OWU’s annual Spring Break Service Week program.

The groups traveled between March 5 and March 13 and met on March 23 to share images and insights from their experiences.

Before the teams left, and again during the homecoming celebration, they received a blessing from University Chaplain Chad Johns, director of Spring Break Service Week, who shared a traditional Franciscan blessing:

“God bless you with discomfort with easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships…with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people and the earth…with tears to shed for those who are hurting so that you reach out to comfort them and turn their pain into joy, Johns said. “And God bless you with the craziness of thinking you can make a difference in the world, then you’ll do the things other people say can’t be done.”

This year’s destinations, missions and team members were:

Lakota Nation, South Dakota – “Build and Rebuild”

The group worked with Lakota Youth Development, a non-profit organization located on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Reservation. The organization works to help reclaim “Lakota language, culture, and spirituality by promoting education and healthy lifestyles for our youth through culture-based strategies.”

  • Callia Barwick from Canfield, Ohio, student team leader – Read his thoughts
  • Lauren Barnes from Groveport, Ohio
  • Black Roe Deer from Pasadena, California
  • SK Bulander from Los Angeles, California
  • Meredith Frymyer from Ostrander, Ohio
  • Alyssa head from Houston, TX
  • Christian Tesnow from Great Falls, Virginia
  • Your Tran from Columbus, Ohio

The Lakota Nation team traveled with teacher advisors David Solidayteaching technologist and Tami PanhuisPh.D., Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.

Houston, Texas – “Disaster Recovery with SBP”

The group worked with SBP, a nonprofit co-founded in New Orleans by a former OWU Zack Rosenbourg, Class of 1995, to assist with hurricane recovery efforts. The students spent the week helping rebuild a home damaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, exploring community building issues, and learning about the national and global responsibility for disaster restoration.

  • Graham Steed from Marion, Ohio, Student Logistics Manager – Read her thoughts
  • Faith Deschamps from East Orange, New Jersey, responsible for student reflections
  • Meg Edwards from Columbus, Ohio
  • Hannah Green from Deerfield, IL
  • Brooke Hall from Julian, Pennsylvania
  • Ava Hurd from Grove City, Ohio
  • Ben Neher from Greeley, Colorado
  • Millie Rocco from Vancleave, Mississippi
  • Deshawn Rode from Galena, Ohio
  • Myles Steed from Marion, Ohio

The Houston team traveled with faculty advisors Newton Kimberly, 2013 Ohio Wesleyan graduate and career catalyst for the university’s Career Connection, and Christopher Mickens, deputy director of public safety.

Learn more about the Ohio Wesleyan Interfaith Service Program at owu.edu/InterfaithService.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s leading liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its flagship program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and holistic perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the US News & World Report and Princeton Review “Best Colleges” lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.

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