Join us in Chicago as we partner with Sunshine Gospel Ministries (through the BridgeBuilders program) for an experiential service-learning opportunity. This trip seeks to connect people from different backgrounds to promote a shared understanding of the challenges facing inner-city communities. Your team will learn through practical service opportunities, participate in activities like a poverty simulation, and engage in deep, meaningful, thought-provoking conversations surrounding life in the south side of Chicago.
This trip is for those wanting to move towards a deeper understanding of reconciliation and inequity and bring an awareness of the issues surrounding those living in the inner city. Many on the outside hear and see mostly negative portrayals of the inner city, which contribute to unhelpful labeling and misguided interactions. EM and SGM hope to reveal the giftedness of the community through healthy, meaningful experiences that combine service, learning, and active engagement.
Will you join EM on a unique service-learning mission trip to Chicago in 2024?
Connecting with Sunshine Gospel Ministries of Chicago and their Bridge Builders program, this community trip is designed in a way to bring awareness and conversation to the many complexities people living in the inner city face on a daily basis.
During this mission trip, your team will work directly with our local Community Partners with the BridgeBuilder Program in Chicago. This trip is locally staffed which adds to its depth as everything your team will experience is shared through a local voice. Your team will spend part of your time supporting local ministry partners connected to Sunshine Gospel Ministries as they work to renew their own neighborhoods. You may find yourself working in community gardens, doing simple building renovations like painting, improving a playground, praying for neighbors, or other neighborhood beautification projects. The work fluctuates day to day depending on the local partner's needs, but in each experience, we hope you'll be given opportunities to meet with local people and extend the reconciliation work of the local church.
Inner city life has many layers and comes with many assumptions and misunderstandings from those not experiencing it. We believe education is a powerful tool as we seek to be bridge builders who love and serve others in different circumstances from ourselves. This trip will include several learning elements for your team to experience and engage with. As you enter into these hard yet vital conversations we ask that you come with an open heart and mind ready to be an active listener and learner around the complex topics of reconciliation and inequity
Teams in Chicago will stay either at Sunshine Gospel or at local college apartments owned by Sunshine Gospel.
Cots or air mattresses will be provided but you will be responsible to bring your own bedding (sheets, pillow, blanket or sleeping bag and towels).
There will be shower facilities at the housing facilities where teams will be staying.
There will be bathrooms where your team will be staying. Most work and outreach sites will have bathrooms as well. For those that do not, teams will need to take mid-day breaks to use a public restroom.
Teams will have access to water throughout the day. Everyone should plan to bring refillable water bottles to stay hydrated throughout the day.
There is electricity available where you will be staying, as well as at most work and outreach locations.
EM works with our partners to ensure the most secure facility possible.
This is an extreme inner-city mission trip, which will put you and your team in the center of inner-city life as you take part in learning and service projects throughout the day. During your time of service in this location, you may meet people navigating difficult life struggles. People in various stages of drug and alcohol addiction, and those possibly involved in local gangs, prostitution, etc. may cross paths with your team. Their personal need for Christ is extreme. It is through kindness, care, and respect for the dignity of all we meet that we can best share the love of Christ. Please come prepared to step out of your comfort zone as you meet the people of the city with an open heart.
A wonderful team of local cooks will be preparing and serving your meals. Breakfast and dinner will be served buffet-style, and your team will pack your lunches.
Your team's transportation to, from, and while in Chicago is not covered by the cost of your trip. You will need your vehicles throughout the entire week to transport your team to various locations for work and ministry.
NOTE: Using a school bus as your main mode of transportation while in this community is NOT an ideal option. 15-passenger vans or smaller are your best choice for transportation in Chicago.
4-6pm Arrival & Orientation
6-8pm - Dinner - Lesson - Debrief
8:00 am - Breakfast
9am-12pm - El Train Experience
12-1pm - Lunch
1-4pm - Woodlawn Tour
4-5pm - Intro to South Side
6-8pm - Dinner - Lesson - Debrief
8:00 am - Breakfast
9am - 2:30pm - Community Service (& Lunch)
3:30pm - Rotating Opportunities (Museum, Poverty Simulation, American Son, Just Mercy, Economic Poverty)
6pm - Dinner - Lesson - Debrief *Thursday evenings are generally free after dinner for your team to take some time to be together
Trips to Chicago normally end at noon on Friday after a brunch and final debrief session Your team also has the option to stay over Friday night and use the remainder of the day on Friday to explore the city. You will be on your own for meals after breakfast on Friday if you choose to stay. Departure would be no later than Saturday morning at 9:00 am.
All EM Summer Staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.
Medical kits that include first-aid supplies for general accidents and ailments are provided for each site. In domestic communities like Atlanta, we ask that teams supply their own medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, and Imodium as they deem necessary.
Emergency Response Plan
Based on the severity of each emergency, EM has a plan for appropriate response.
- If a team member becomes seriously ill, they will be taken to a local doctor to receive appropriate medical attention and medications. If they are a minor, their Team Leader along with our staff will accompany them to the clinic. If needed, their parents will be contacted. Their recovery will be carefully monitored by our staff.
- If there is an accident that requires a doctor, but is not life-threatening and does not have the potential to cause permanent damage, Experience Mission staff will locate the Team Leader, contact parents or guardians (providing the injured is a minor), and provide safe but quick transportation to a local clinic.
- In the event that an accident occurs which is life-threatening or has the potential for permanent damage, emergency 911 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted to assist in guidance for appropriate response.
All medical care is the sole responsibility of the team member. Experience Mission requires every team member to be covered by domestic medical insurance.
Check out EM's current Covid Guidance
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding team registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EM's IMMERSION program.
Only takes a minute! Simply choose the community and trip dates you’re most interested in—no commitment necessary.
We’ll personally follow up with you this week
Answering your questions and walking you through the process of finding the best trip, registering your group, and preparing to serve together.
You and your team serve on a cross-cultural mission trip!
Organized and led by EM field staff or local partners, your trip will bring encouragement and light to people in difficult circumstances, as you learn what it means to care for all people, whoever and wherever you are.
You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.