CLU freshmen to volunteer 5 days in LA

Urban service program is first for incoming students

Service is an integral part of the CLU experience so students are introduced to it from their first days on campus.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Aug. 17, 2012) Five freshmen will spend five days living with Salvadoran immigrants and volunteering for service organizations in Los Angeles during California Lutheran University’s first urban service trip for incoming students.

Telios: Urban Experience will run from Tuesday, Aug. 21, though Saturday, Aug. 25.

The students will explore urban social justice issues involving youth, economic development, hunger and worker justice. They will learn about and serve organizations including the Bresee Youth Foundation, the Mercado La Paloma project of Esperanza Community Housing Corp., the St. Francis Center serving homeless and nearly homeless families, the Mama's Hot Tamales economic development project, HomeBoy Industries and Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE LA). They will stay with a family that emigrated from El Salvador.

The participants are Christopher Otmar of Salinas; Laurel Skinner of Portland, Oregon; Robben Taylor of Copper Center, Alaska; Jessica Villanueva-Walker of Camarillo and Kristiana Wright of Fort Madison, Iowa.

CLU administrators organized the new service immersion program with the help of New City Parish, an urban coalition of nine congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that focuses on holistic ministries and social outreach.

Since service is an integral part of the CLU experience, students are introduced to it from their first days on campus so they can begin thinking about how they can help others as part of their education. All incoming students are asked to participate in a group service project as part of New Student Orientation, but this is the first time a multi-day service-learning trip has been offered for incoming students. CLU also organizes community service days, homeless shelter overnights, alternative spring breaks and winter service trips.