By Jonathan Wagner, Staff Writer

This upcoming J-Term there is going to be a great short-term service-learning experience through Huntington University’s opportunity to partner with YouthWorks Detroit. YouthWorks Detroit is led by Chad and Doris Shellabarger, both of whom are Huntington University alumni from the class of 2013.

“My life was forever changed when God called me from HU to Detroit,” said Chad Shellabarger. “Just a few days in the city transformed my heart, changed my perspectives, and introduced me to a living and active Savior.”

This is not an ordinary mission trip! YouthWork Detroit’s “Urban Encounter” program has a wide range of service opportunities, but it does not stop there. Students who choose to take this trip will have an opportunity to learn about race, poverty, and what everyone can do to advocate for justice and dignity. 

Michael Roeder, the newest staff-member of Awakening Fire here on campus, said, “when I went on Detroit Urban Encounter, I was able to see a side of America I had never seen before. Abandoned houses with no water or electricity and entire families living in complete poverty. My heart was moved for people who needed our help and I had the opportunity to deliver food and clothing to these people who were barely getting by. My time in Detroit was life-changing and I realized how important it was to help the poor and needy in our own country.”

There are practical benefits available, such as a shortened J-Term (6 days!), J-Term credit, and ministry experience, but the spiritual benefits are far greater. If you are interested in learning more about this J-Term opportunity, send an e-mail to Dr. Bergler at