Missions / Student.Go

Student.Go 20-year Anniversary

By Carrie Harris

Carries Harris served with Student.Go during the summer of 2010 in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. It is part of two of the poorest counties, Lee and Phillips Counties, in Arkansas.

“I am an (almost) life-long Cooperative Baptist. I grew up in a CBF church, attended Passport Camps and sang in my youth choir at a CBF General Assembly. I was deeply connected to and engaged with my church as a youth but lost that connection in college. While in college, during a particularly difficult year personally, I found that I missed that connection and that I needed a place to serve…so I applied to be a Bible Study Leader at Passport. Soon after, I got a call from someone on the Passport staff informing me that they thought my application better suited a different program, and they had forwarded my information along. That program was Student.Go, and I was on my way to serve for a summer ‘beyond my culture, beyond my comfort zone, beyond myself.’

Two people come to mind when I think about people who had the greatest impact during my time with Student.Go. Dixie DuRant from Sumter, South Carolina, became my fast friend as we served together in Arkansas. We shared our home and our lives—connecting deeply over conversations about college and calling, our families and friends, and the community we were serving. We cooked together, traveled to Memphis, celebrated my birthday, took goofy photos, drank a “bucket-o-coke” every day together, got annoyed with one another, worked it out, had a flea-infested apartment to bug bomb together, sweat together, learned together and loved the friends we made in the Delta together. The next year, the two of us chose to go back to Arkansas together to participate in the All Church Challenge as volunteers. Dixie is an incredible human full of energy and kindness. She went on to serve for years through City Year in New York City, and has since returned to South Carolina and just got married. She was my sister for a summer, and I am so grateful for Student.Go for giving us that opportunity. 

Jaz was a 15-year-old living in Lakeview with her sister and cousin. She was curious, kind and always lending a helping hand as we connected with the community. She essentially served alongside us as we led silly songs, played games, made crafts and read books to the little children. She stepped up as a leader and a friend, introduced us to local delicacies like Kool-Aid Pickles, helped us learn about the families living in the area, connected with parents who needed a trusting face to send their kids out to play, and assisted as we walked children back home each afternoon in Lakeview. By the end of the summer, Jaz called us sisters. Throughout the years, I’ve kept up with Jaz. She is now 27 and thriving. She is proud of who she is. She is a graduate, advocate for racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights, fiercely loves her family and the Lord. She has a tattoo of the beautiful view from her old neighborhood in Lakeview—a pier that goes into the lake filled with Cypress trees. She is rooted like those trees but has grown beyond the familiar waters of home. She is the hope in Together for Hope and is so inspiring.

Serving through Student.Go helped me to discover my passion for practical ministry as well as helping me discover who I could be as an independent adult. This fairly sheltered college student got to experience being the minority in a place, entered sacred spaces that were unfamiliar to me, experienced life in a new state, learned about small town Delta life and culture, was given leadership opportunities, and led others on mission. It is an opportunity that pointed me toward my calling—it solidified my decision to attend grad school for my M.Div. It connected me more to this great Fellowship, and now I have served in the CBF Global office for over 8 years. Now, I get to watch wide-eyed college students at Student.Go orientations each year as they prepare to have their own experiences outside their comfort zones—and I am so grateful.”

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