April 9-14, 2017 – Spring Break • 750 • Los Angeles, CA
What is CSM?
The cities of North America can be difficult places to live because of crime, poverty, homelessness, drugs, gangs — the list goes on and on. Many individuals and families that could be making a positive impact on life in the city have left to find a better, safer place to live in the suburbs or smaller cities. This leaves the city in a difficult position — the people that could do the most good are no longer present to fight for quality of life and the quality of their neighborhoods. Local churches, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, childcare facilities and youth facilities are active in the city, but they need volunteers to be successful. That’s where CSM comes in.
CSM exists to bring students and adults in to the inner city for ministry. Although not a physical place, CSM is an experience in which students come to know God in a new way. CSM finds places in urban centers for students to use their gifts to promote the Kingdom of God. We do not create our own projects, but link with existing churches and agencies to help them with their ministries. By participating in people-to-people ministries, students make new friends and become involved in the lives of city dwellers.
Is it safe?
The media image of the inner-city is skewed. Often, when you watch TV, you begin to think that everyone in the city is out to rob or hurt you in some way. On the contrary, much of the urban center is made up of immigrant neighborhoods. These immigrants provide a sense of family and a sense of well being in the city.
Our strict guidelines, together with our reputation and experience, help to ensure the safety of our participants. We house students in secure areas, while still allowing students to experience the problems and challenges of urban life. Participants are also guided through the experience by our staff, who provide a full-time presence in the city.
What Will Our Students Do?
They will learn. Students will be exposed to new situations, opportunities and physical surroundings that will challenge their stereotypes and assumptions. By living in an urban setting, they will interact with people of the city. Participants are fed in small, family-operated, ethnic restaurants that provide
an additional window into the cultures of the world.
They will minister. Participants minister in shelters, missions, children’s programs, clubs, churches, parks, residential hotels, food banks, soup kitchens, and neighborhood centers. By adjusting our efforts to the priorities of these ministries, we are able to help in ways most desired and needed by our urban partners.
They will process what they learn. Each evening, a CSM staff person will guide the group through a discussion to help them understand what they have been learning and experiencing.