For the second day of our Spring 2018 Alternative Service Break (ASB) trip to Chicago, Illinois. As we awoke from a restful night after our 5-hour drive to the windy city, we began our excursion day by going to the Garfield Park Conservatory. This free nature exhibit featured sections for different environments of plant life and our trip members explored the different plant life for several hours. Many of the trip members were fascinated by the flower exhibit (especially considering the possibilities for photo ops).
After a morning of beautiful scenery, we ate lunch at a local Resturant called Turkey Chop. This restaurant is a small business that is social-justice orientated, donating part of their profits to pour directly back into their neighborhood.
After wrapping up our time at the restaurant, our group headed to the famed Millennium Park. The scenery was beautiful, and all of the students especially enjoyed the visit to “Cloud Gate”, or as they would like to call it, The Bean. Afterward, we explored the Chicago Cultural Center, taking a look at local artists from Chicago, how the city comes together through art, the themes of diversity and unity within the artworks, and looking at how different people express themselves in their culture through art.
Getting our fill of greenery and beautiful local art, the group took public transit to Navy Pier, where the students had the opportunity to explore the pier and gaze out to Lake Michigan. Some of our members rode the Ferris Wheel, others explored the different shopping opportunities, and others went out to the lakefront of the pier to take in all of the water. Afterward, the group members went to the limited time prism exhibit, where an art display of spinning prisms created a beautiful scene at night.
To finish up our excursion day in Chicago, the ASB’ers headed back to Christ’s Vineyard (our temporary home for the week) and picked up some authentic Chicago style pizza for dinner that night. During dinner, the group gathered for a reflection on what we had seen that day and how we may carry these into our week of service on domestic violence. There was a great discussion on the pervasiveness of homelessness in the area, how this may be connected to domestic violence, and the importance of free programs like the Chicago Cultural Center and the Conservatory was essential to providing access to resources that people may otherwise not have access to. Overall, the group was exhausted but ready to head into Day 3, the first day of service!
The Service Coordinators develop active citizens on our campus and in our community through immersive service-based trips and days of service.
Yelena Bagdasaryan and Loghan Currin