Students Living A Mission (SLAM) is the student-service arm of its parent organization, G.O.D. Int’l. SLAM mobilizes students ages 12-25 to live a mission in imitation of Jesus Christ by serving the poor and underprivileged through community service.
This summer, 650 participants from 27 churches, 9 states, and 8 denominations served with SLAM. 12 of those churches were groups who have never worked with SLAM before. SLAM served on 3 different continents.
In Nashville, SLAM facilitated cleaning projects for 200 high-rise apartment residents, 12 camps for refugee and immigrant children, general cleaning and landscaping for 10 non-profit organizations, and nearly 1,000 volunteer hours at Hopewell Gardens, G.O.D. Int’l’s community garden. In Hopewell (the neighborhood in which SLAM’s headquarters reside) alone, they served six elderly widows with general landscaping and yard work, flooring installation, and deck renovation, and put in over 80 hours renovating a home for one of G.O.D. Int’l’s families abroad. Kids camps were run throughout Nashville at various low-income apartment complexes, providing a safe, entertaining and educational environment for immigrant and refugee children and youth.
SLAM participant Hannah Lee described how serving at kids camps changed her life. "As I watched kids day after day wear the same clothes and sprint at the chance of being given an apple or a bag of chips, it was as if my heart broke and grew at the same time."
In El Salvador, 70 SLAM participants, including youth groups from 3 churches and 9 summer interns, facilitated a skills camp, visited an orphanage, cultivated farmland, and made several home and church visits. In Uganda, 8 summer interns made home, school, hospital, and prison visits, facilitated a wound care clinic, sports activities, and a skills camp, and assisted with construction of a new school building in a local slum, as well as construction of a local playground.
The following words are from summer interns Nick Corniea and AJ Gerard regarding their internship experience.
"Leading up to the trip, I was asked what I was looking forward to. I said traveling, which isn't true. One doesn’t go on a trip like that just to see more of the world. My problem was that I didn’t have the words to express that I wanted to connect with God, and learn about what the Bible has to say, or about the life Jesus led. To those I said I was looking forward to traveling, I apologize. Know that I went on the trip to connect with God, who’s greater than I knew, to learn about what the Bible has to say, especially about life today, and about Jesus and the way he lived, with love, compassion and justice." (Nick Corniea)
"The last few days in Africa were so full of need, and at the same time life-changing, allowing me to rely on strength from the Lord in situations where I lacked the mental and physical capacity to endure. Those moments truly humbled me, and my compassion for the precious people living in Uganda grew. The Lord is with them. and he is working through us in Uganda. There is much darkness in Africa, but the light we can bring is so much stronger." (AJ Gerard)
Throughout the school year, SLAM hosted weekend service projects and bible conferences for both youth and their leaders. During that time, SLAM also worked to organize all of the summer service opportunities for the hundreds of students excited to work with them.
In 2013, SLAM gave the opportunity to serve the poor and marginalized to every young person and adult who walked through its doors. And SLAM no doubt has plans to do the same in 2014.