2015 Youth Mission Trip ~ July 26–31, 2015
About Benton Harbor
Southwest Michigan is an area with miles of scenic shoreline, popular for boating and fishing, thanks to Lake Michigan and the St. Joseph River. These shores are also home to the city of Benton Harbor. This is a city that once thrived because of its booming industrial economy, however, there are some painful parts to its story as well, particularly in relationship to its “twin city” of St. Joseph. These two cities, separated by the St. Joseph River, have seen significant conflict due to the disparity between the two. St. Joseph is predominately Caucasian, while Benton Harbor is predominately African-American. The median household income in St. Joseph is nearly three times that of Benton Harbor. This stark contrast has led to racial tension and unrest at times, and residents of Benton Harbor also face the struggles of poverty and poor infrastructure and education. In the midst of all of this, revitalization efforts are under way, and there are many who are committed to seeing this community be restored.
During a week in Benton Harbor, you and your youth will partner with local organizations to serve the city’s youngest and oldest residents, help to facilitate a Kids Club and assist with yard work & painting homes. Many of our projects come directly from a local woman in the community who is well-known and respected throughout Benton Harbor. Not only does she help us find ways to serve, but she also helps Youth Works participants learn the story of this community she calls home. In the evenings your group will tour Water Street glassworks and learn about the fine arts community that continues to grow in Benton Harbor, experience local BBQ, and experience the Lake Michigan beach. In addition you will learn more about the community through a scavenger hunt, a local hip hop dance group that gives kids in the community a positive outlet and hear the story of Benton Harbor from a community friend.
Check out pics from other YouthWork’s trips http://www.clcbyron.org/events/photos/
Check out the youthworks videos below…