— This spring, while hundreds of thousands of college students flocked to spring break hot-spots such as Cancun and Ft. Lauderdale, 102 Orthodox college students opted for dramatically different destinations. These students chose to spend their week away from school pressures serving those less fortunate. Real Break, the spring break alternative program of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) had another record breaking year, with eight teams working in five different locations. They served the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala, Project Mexico, the Aleutian village of Eklutna, Alaska, Raphael House in San Francisco and St. George the Martyr Monastery in Greece.
Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala hosted two teams, who experienced the love and hope of over 150 children living there. Real Break returned to Project Mexico with three trips, where the teams completed three buildings to be used as housing for Project Mexico’s summer groups. The Orthodox young people also spent valuable time with the 18 boys of St. Innocent Orphanage. In the serene landscape of Alaska, a world away from the tropical beaches where many of their classmates were spending their week, a team built a new floor for St. Nicholas Church. In Karditsa, Greece, the students worked on a monastery landscaping project, while witnessing the vibrant expressions of Orthodoxy of the surrounding community and monasteries. Real Break also returned to San Francisco to help serve food and maintain facilities at Raphael House, a shelter for homeless families.
The intent of the program is to impact our Orthodox college students with the life-changing experience of living a full Orthodox lifestyle. Elyse Pickwick, a sophomore from Eastern Kentucky University reflected on her experience in Greece: “I have been influenced in so many ways - my focus was put into perspective. I realized its ok to change your plans for no other reason but GOD!”