College Students Make Summer Matter

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Dozens spend weeks in Haiti as part of LiveBeyond

Thirty students from nearly a dozen colleges across the country are spending their summers thinking of someone beyond themselves, serving in one of the poorest regions in Haiti with LiveBeyond. Founded by U.S. trauma surgeon Dr. David Vanderpool in 2005, the organization seeks to bring sustainable change to Thomazeau, Haiti, through medical care, maternal health programs, literacy education, agricultural and economic development, clean water and care for at-risk children.

As a faith-based organization, it routinely hosts individuals from around the nation to serve on short-term mission trips in Haiti, usually through their churches or church networks. However, college students have gravitated to this outreach, embracing the challenges and opportunities for personal growth while making a difference in other people’s lives. 

Universities represented by students serving this summer include: 
• Abilene Christian University
• Texas A&M University
• Baylor University
• Missouri State University
• Harding University
• Freed-Hardeman University
• Auburn University
• University of Texas Medical School at Houston
• Purdue University
• University of Tennessee (Knoxville)
• Samford University

Dr. Vanderpool commends the work of the young people and their commitment to serving others over themselves. “Jesus calls us to ‘go’ and serve the least of these, and it is heartening to see so many college students coming to give their time in Haiti, making great personal sacrifices because of their love for God and for those in need,” Dr. Vanderpool said. “These are some of our future doctors, nurses, ministers and lay leaders, and it encourages me that this generation is unselfish in its worldview and these young people really want to make a difference in the world.”

Several of the students have shared about how their time in Haiti has impacted them, as well. “Haiti was a life-changing experience for me,” said Sydnie Schubert, a sophomore at Baylor University. “Loving and caring for people who are so thankful and have so much hope really transformed my heart.”

Other students are so touched that they plan to return again and again. Marissa Gonz, a senior at Missouri State University, said “What better way to seek Christ fully than surrendering yourself to be His hands and feet in one of the most oppressed countries in the world! I can’t wait to do it again.”

The majority of LiveBeyond volunteers do return often, many of them bringing along new recruits who are similarly affected. Many recent college graduates continue to serve well past their college years, and number themselves among the more than 200 non-college volunteers who are spending time with LiveBeyond in Haiti this summer.

In fact, one couple – Colton and Cadi Gloff – met in Haiti last summer while Cadi was serving as a student for LiveBeyond. They recently married and were so committed to returning that they spent their honeymoon serving with LiveBeyond earlier this month.

More information about joining a LiveBeyond short-term mission trip is available at . Altogether, more than 2,000 individuals have volunteered with LiveBeyond since 2012.