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Summer internships in service-learning with a local touch

“Don’t ignore it, explore it! God has a way of nudging us down an unknown path to share His faith, hope and love with others; all the while we grow closer to Him in that process.” That is the charge given by John Eads, co-founder of Light of the Village (LOV) and instructor at Spring Hill College.

Just as they have in years past, a group of Spring Hill students helped serve over 400 inner-city children this summer through Light of the Village, a Christian ministry that operates five separate summer Bible camps throughout Prichard and Mobile. The Light of the Village was founded in 2001 by John and his wife, Dolores and the various camps operate for six weeks and are free of charge to the children they serve. 

(l-r): Theresa Montgomery, Morgan Hopkinson, John Eads, Terrance Johnson, Darius McCrae, Keandria Reese, Rihana Jones
(l-r): Theresa Montgomery, Morgan Hopkinson, John Eads, Terrance Johnson, Darius McCrae, Keandria Reese, Rihana Jones

John Eads is an instructor in the Business division at Spring Hill, where he has taught management classes since 2007. He also teaches BUS 220, which is a Community Learning Integrated Mission Based (CLIMB) designated course. The students participate in 10 hours of tutoring at Light of the Village, meaning they tutor children while John and his LOV team are on-site. 

The summer internships may be taken for college credit and each intern is paid a stipend, though the rewards go far beyond these benefits. “In my three years with LOV, I have grown so much spiritually and mentally. Being an intern has made me step outside of my comfort zone but I am so grateful for the growth,” said Terrance Johnson ’21. “What I like most is probably the daily interactions with the kids and the relationships that are formed. I've had the older boys group for two summers and they have been like the little brothers I've always wanted, even if it's 22 at a time.”

The work is hard, frustrating and sad at times. Eads says “You work inside turbulent communities where these children live and are exposed to turmoil. This is a hands-on, front-line ministry. However, you get the opportunity to serve as the hands and face of Christ to these children, His children. Even “little” acts like pushing a child on a swing is a blessing beyond our comprehension.” 

Theresa Montgomery ’20 accepted a leadership role at Light of the Village after participating in a summer internship. “I felt my work at Light of the Village was not finished yet, so I continued to volunteer my time as a Room Leader for the After School Program.” Montgomery says she built new relationships and faced new challenges, “However, I was not alone because God was there to help me see that these children need love and help.”

Eads says LOV has the opportunity to open even more camps in the future. For more information, visit www.lightofthevillage.org.  

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