Monday, April 16, 2007
The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthodox Christian Fellowship
P.O. Box 300249
Boston, MA 02130
Twelve Real Breaks, Eight Locations, 104 Students and ONE focus– Christ
Boston, MA – Throughout late February and March, 2007, 104 college students chose to serve the poor, orphaned and those in need on their spring break as an alternative to the traditional “sun and fun” breaks that college students normally choose. Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s (OCF) Real Break program held twelve trips and served eight different locations this year. Real Break provides an opportunity for college students to actively engage in life-changing experiences and to orient their lives towards Christ.
Joanne, a freshman at the University of Michigan, went on a Real Break to St. John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto and shared, “Putting faces and personalities to some of Toronto’s homeless has had a big impact on me. Hearing stories, doing a tangible project that improved the Mission, and then coming back together as a group and having incredible discussions is like putting the puzzle together of what a true Christian life should be like.” Joanne and her group served the Mission by befriending the homeless, completing much-needed maintenance on the facilities and worshiping with the parish on a daily basis.
In addition to the group who traveled to St. John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto, Real Break teams served Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala (two groups), Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico (three groups), Raphael House in San Francisco, CA, Holy Monastery of the Twelve Apostles in Greece, San Cristóbal Orphanage in San Salvador, El Salvador and
Jackie’s House in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Orthodox Christian students participating in Real Break also joined hundreds of other volunteers from throughout North America as part of International Orthodox Christian Charities’ (IOCC) “Volunteers in the Gulf” to help those in the New Orleans area who are still recovering from the devastating hurricanes of 2005.
Real Break’s intense daily schedule creates opportunities for each participant to reflect on their relationship with Christ. The majority of participants admit they sign up for Real Break with the intent of serving and giving to others, but the time spent loving their brothers and sisters in Christ has a very different effect than expected. Each student receives more than what they give; they receive a life transforming experience. Jamie, a freshman at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, was clearly impacted on the Real Break to Jackie’s House in the Dominican Republic at one specific moment. “The most memorable and important moment of the trip was when we left Jackie’s House for the last time. The whole week, I felt like they (the children) had shown and given me so much. As we left, everyone, including the children, were bawling. It showed me how much we meant to them, and that meant the world to me.”
The 104 students who participated in Real Break this year brought the total number of participants over the eight years of Real Break to more than 620. The amazing growth of this program is a testimony to the fact that college students thirst for outreach opportunities in college in order to maintain and deepen their relationship with Christ.
OCF humbly asks each Orthodox Christian to continue to offer prayers and support for this crucial and growing college ministry.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship is the official campus ministry program of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). It is a Pan-Orthodox effort which is overseen by a Board of Directors and assisted by a Student Advisory Board. Additional information on the all OCF programs can be found on the OCF website at www.ocf.net, or by calling toll-free at 800-919-1623.