The City Links Experience

by Ahmed Sedam '11

Each year, City Links brings together students and neighbors for three days of community work to help new students connect with the local cities and instill a commitment to service. On September 18, 25, and October 2, more than 1,200 freshmen each spent a Saturday serving alongside their Alpha groups.

“My heart is that students would engage the city of Azusa and surrounding community in a way that they learn to love and appreciate their new home and the wonderful people and places that exist across the street, “said Matt Visser head of City Links and director of the Office of Ministry and Service.

While some may think that this type of service only benefits those being helped, it also deeply impacts the APU students.

Lucile Chavez ’14 spent the day assisting the elderly with yard work in Foothill Vista Mobile Home Park, a community across the street from APU’s campus. “Everyone needs help somewhere, and who better to help them than me,” said Chavez. “I enjoy community service and I love the satisfaction one gets from helping others. I gained a sense of accomplishment because I knew I was helping those who could not help themselves.”

Brian Summerson ’14 also worked with the elderly, helping paint a bathroom and cabinets. “It is important to work in the community because God calls us to service, and because it always feels good to help out people who need it,” said Summerson. “I gained an appreciation for our nearby elderly community seeing that they are sweet, really awesome people.”

City Links is sure to have a lingering effect on the students involved.

“I loved meeting the people who live in that complex. They were so nice and just being able to see them be happy because there was one less thing for them to worry about made me feel so much better,” said Chavez.

“The most rewarding part is helping someone who would have never been able to paint a whole bathroom on her own,” said Summerson. “She was in an accident that prevented her from bending one of her legs. I got to be that other leg for her and give her something that she would appreciate. I enjoy being able to help people out and even more so when they really need it.”

Due to the largest freshmen class in APU history, this year City Links expanded to not only include Azusa, but include Glendora, Duarte, and Los Angeles as well. Students not assigned to projects in Azusa were able to serve in the neighboring communities.

Service is one of APU’s four Cornerstones; each student is required to participate in service opportunities during their tenure at school. City Links sets up APU students with a mindset for continued service throughout their college career and beyond. As the students shared, the experience and memories gained are priceless, and will be with them for the rest of their lives.