During Spring Break 2012, Athletes in Action at the University of Michigan took roughly 40 staff and students to Los Angeles for a one-week Urban Project-esque experience.
Natasha (below right), one of the UM students, had this to say about her experience:
“Michigan’s Athletes in Action Urban Immersion Spring Break - Los Angeles was a great educational, spiritual and cultural eye opening experience. This being my second time participating in an LA urban immersion, I did not expect to leave with any new appreciation or awareness for the inequality, racial and cultural issues in the city.
I was pleasantly surprised that this trip, even though two and a half weeks shorter than my first trip to LA, offered a comparable amount of exposure and lessons that are positively influencing my life today. From being back at Skid Row, a neighborhood defined by homelessness, staying in the cold basement of First Evangelical Church in a gang ridden area, to learning about effective ways to love a community at Solidarity non-profit organization, I truly got experience the movement in the city towards a brighter future.
Returning to Ann Arbor after a week of freezing nights, cold showers and sugar cereal, I had a new appreciation for all the ways I have been blessed in my life. This growth in understanding of inequality and prejudice has manifested in my daily life here in Ann Arbor. I make sure to give more of my time to volunteering and also to not be shy about sharing my resources when possible. In addition to learning about the city and growing in my awareness, it was great to build community with fellow student- athletes from my school, Michigan, Concordia and Eastern Michigan.
Engaging and processing this trip together, growing in our faith and spending time spreading love and serving, all under the name of God, really helped form a community and relationships that little by little will shine as lights in the athletic departments at the different schools and some day produce change in the hearts of all who are willing to recognize that there is something different and that there is a better way of life, through God. Overall, this was an amazing trip, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my spring break!”