2021 SALT Groups Hit the Street
Service and Learning Term (SALT) is an innovative learning experience which takes place outside the normal classroom and is most often off campus. Due to the pandemic SALT was two days and the groups stayed more local than they usually do. This year the students were divided into seven groups and served the community in various ways. Below you can read a little about what each group did and enjoy some pictures from their experience. Even though we weren’t able to do SALT in the typical way, we are thankful to be able to offer this unique approach to a well-rounded education to our students.
Crooked Creek SALT, Washington, Iowa
Lee Ebersole and Mike Wagner and their SALT team went to Crooked Creek Christian Camp to help with a controlled burn of CRP land and to help paint cabins. Along with working, they also took time to enjoy the facilities and surroundings of the camp. Students who served at Crooked Creek were Elizabeth Slater, Jacob Smith Derksen, Ivana Ebersole, Meredith Blossom, Johnny Diaz, Julia Ortiz-Luna, and Hannah Chalupa.
Faith and Compassion, Iowa City
We intentionally put our faith into practice by listening to Jesus, trying to see others through eyes of compassion. We tried to obey scriptures like Psalm 46:10 by listening to God through prayer and scripture and then acting on what we learned. We went on a prayer walk, asking that God would be known and honored by the people we encountered. We prayed for specific needs and had interesting conversations with people both religious and non-religious. We experienced warm hospitality in a Sudanese home. We tried to bless others as we listened and interacted with folks of various backgrounds from Sikh to Sudanese. We visited IC Compassion and learned about the organization’s programs and projects. We ate delicious Indian and Vietnamese foods. We experienced neat moments in hearing from God and sharing his care with others. Faculty Sierra Cheney and Bryan Neuschwander lead the Faith and Compassion SALT team of Julia Boller, Leah Bontrager, Evelyn Gerber, Will Kolck, Matt Davies and Andrew Starr.
Hillcrest Helping Hands, Kalona and Iowa City
Lynn Yoder guided her group through a fun few days of volunteering locally. Students Grace Miller, Samantha Camarena-Paredes, Taryn Leichty, Alex Canchola, and Aiden Krabill spent a day doing odd jobs for elderly residents of the Pleasantview Village Community, and a day helping out at the Crowded Closet in Iowa City – the Crowded Closet is a non-profit thrift store that benefits the community locally, supports relief projects worldwide, and promotes peace in the name of Christ through Mennonite Central Committee.
Load Bearing: Practical Faith, Kalona and Wellman
Sponsors Bryn Hovde and Mark Miller led students Eli Ours, Alex Niemeyer, Quang Huynh, Aaron Hershberger, Collin Miller, Sarah Miller, Aidan Yoder, and John Hughes in preparing food, and doing various chores including cleaning, organizing, yardwork, and visiting. They started their time at the school making their lunches as well as a casserole for widows/the elderly they were going to help that day. They spent one day in Kalona and the second day in Wellman helping a variety of individuals in each community. They asked each person who they served to tell a story that they would like to pass on to us as a way of honoring them and receiving something from them as well, so that it was a mutual exchange. In the evening they had a campfire / fire pit at Mark’s parents house where they had a devotional, played some yard games, and hung out.
Matthew 25: Cedar Rapids
Sponsors Maya Kehr Yoder and Marcus Miller led Jace Remple, Grand Bender, Gabe Bruns, Norah Yoder, Malia Sedlacek, and Yani Gutierrez on their SALT term to Cedar Rapids. Students collaborated with the Cedar Rapids-based group Matthew 25 to put their faith into action through service. While partnering with Matthew 25 to garden and prepare construction sites that they are still helping rebuild from the Derecho, the group learned about the organization and food deserts/food instability in our local communities. They ate each day at Matthew 25’s Groundswell Cafe that provides food for the community through a donation-based structure. The goal was to nourish spiritual development through study of Jesus’ words in the scripture Matthew 25 by putting these words into action.
Serving with Angela and Leanne, Iowa City and Kalona
Sponsors Angela Snakenberg and Leanne Bender took their students to Crowded Closet on Friday to complete sorting, tagging, cleaning, and staging of items as directed by the Volunteer Coordinator. On Saturday, students assisted in setting up, participating in the Take Away Hunger assembly line of adding dry ingredients, sealing, and boxing bags in order for the bagged meals to be delivered to food insecure people throughout the world. In addition, students read, cut, color, and laminated to complete Literacy Kits for United Way. Finally, students served at the Wellman food pantry, sorting foods into categories, checking for expiration dates and shelving items. Student Garrett Durflinger said, “SALT was a fun learning experience, as we got to volunteer and help the community around us.” Students serving with Angela and Leanne were Leo Cardenas, Samara Jimenez, Sophie Marshall, Esther Hughes, Garrett Durflinger, Sarann Durflinger, and Jorge Canchola.