FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Orthodox Christian Fellowship
Thursday, June 10, 2004 P.O. Box 249
Contact: Joseph J. Samra 1-800-919-1623
Program Coordinator www.ocf.net
Over 100 College Students Live the Orthodox Faith on their Spring Break
BOSTON, MA— This spring, while hundreds of thousands of college students flocked to spring break hot-spots such as Cancun and
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
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!”
Now in its fifth year, Real Break has had 340 students participate, with 2004 the biggest year, seeing a 50% increase in participation. Fr. Michael Nasser, Executive Director of OCF stated, “Real Break has become one of the most important experiences a student can choose to take. The time spent in these amazing places changes the student for life, spiritually and mentally, ultimately bringing them closer to Christ.”
Each Real Break provides alternatives to "traditional" spring breaks for Orthodox college students, and gives them instead a full Christian experience of fellowship and service to others. The program provides opportunities for spiritual growth with one-on-one interaction with a priest accompanying each group. Each participant is asked to raise the funds for their trip, with donors becoming a part of each participant’s experience as photos and stories are shared upon their return. Excess funds are distributed directly to the location. This year over $30,000 will be given to these locations’ ministries on behalf of the students and their donors.
For more information about Real Break visit http://realbreak.ocf.net
Ben, a graduate student at the Miami University Ohio, enjoys his time spent with his friend David, one of the many children he interacted with on one of the 2004 Real Breaks to Hogar Rafael Ayau in Guatemala.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official campus ministry effort of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). It is a Pan-Orthodox effort, overseen by an Executive Committee and aided by a sixteen-person Student Advisory Board. The office is located in
Boston, MA, where a full time staff develops OCF programs and resources. The staff is available to guide and support local OCF chapters through communication with the larger Orthodox community, national programs, and development of resources for use by Orthodox college students. SCOBA designated the 3rd Sunday in September each year as “College Student Sunday” to raise awareness of our students on campus and OCF’s activities.