Upper School students got the opportunity to apply for different mission trips during Missions Week. One of those trips was the Arkansas Dream Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Dream Center is an after-school facility for kids to play and do homework while developing a relationship with Christ. The Dream Center staff make sure the kids feel like they belong and are welcomed, no matter what may be happening in their personal lives.
This year was the largest group taken to the Dream Center because so many students applied. As in years past, Upper School teachers, Jerrod Butler and Laurie Hubert were the chaperones. Since a large number of students went, Jacob Yonan and Deidre Sickles joined as new chaperones on the trip. The students arrived at the Dream Center on Monday, March 11 just before the kids arrived around 2 pm. The Dream Center recently opened a new location in North Little Rock for kids that are not able to travel to the original Little Rock location. Juniors went to the North Little Rock location while seniors went back to the original Little Rock location to rekindle old relationships from the past and spark new ones as well.
In the morning, before heading to the Dream Center each day, the students helped to organize and clean out a massive warehouse full of donation items. The help they gave to the staff will allow the Dream Center to not only reach the kids, but also the families who are in desperate need of simple necessities. Later in the day, the Dream Center kids rushed through the doors, excited to see new faces and make new friends. Snacks were given first, and then play time followed. Kids, unafraid to speak up about what they were going through in their lives, immediately latched onto the MCA students. Junior Haley Hitt said, “My favorite part about going to Arkansas was being able to connect with so many kids so quickly.” Homework time consisted of sitting down and helping the kids one-on-one. Dinners were served at the end of each day. Some days there would be a Biblical lesson taught by one of the staff members. Some MCA students were given the opportunity to teach lessons as well. Senior Trey Faulkner said, “The opportunity to give a devotional to the middle school kids allowed me to use what I know and love about Jesus to strengthen their understanding. Not only did I help them, but I grew in my own ways too.” Being present in the moment for the kids was important because most of them don’t get much attention at home, so the MCA students made sure to be there for them no matter what they needed.
The night before the last day at the Dream Center, all of the MCA students pitched in to buy items on the Center’s wishlist. When the MCA students presented the gifts to all the children and the Dream Center staff, they cheered with excitement. This trip not only impacted the kids at the Dream Center, but it was also a life-changing experience for the students at MCA.