Early in the morning on Saturday, September 20, a sea of APU students, faculty, and staff, and several members of the Azusa community excited to serve covered the West Campus stairs.

Every fall, the Office of Ministry and Service, along with the Azusa Unified School District and the city of Azusa, sponsors a major community service project called City Links. Though the Student Orientation Alpha groups (totaling more than 1,000 students) provide most of the labor for this project, several hundred additional people from the APU and Azusa communities team together to serve the city.

"City Links is not about how the community responds to you, but how you respond to the community," said Phil Shahbaz, APU director of student activities and orientation. "We are here to physically represent Christ’s love to the community."

After piling into busses and 15-passenger vans, students shipped off to their various work sites where they spent the next three hours fulfilling the needs of the community. "City Links is important because it gives students a chance to see opportunities for ministry in Azusa," said Alpha leader Autumn Kirby ’06. "Ministry is important to APU, and City Links shows students how we do community service here."

Service projects such as painting, gardening, clean-up, and beautification of the San Gabriel river took place at more than 23 sites around Azusa. Students erased graffiti and provided activities for local children. "I participated in City Links this year because I saw it as a good ministry opportunity," said Danielle Campbell ’04. "I was excited to help set up the petting zoo!"

After participants returned from their work sites, a festival took place on the West Campus soccer fields. The festival provided an opportune time for APU students, faculty, staff, and members of the Azusa community to interact. Attendees enjoyed food, live music, and activities for children including a petting zoo, pony rides, and a giant bounce house.

Ron Gaeta, Ed.D., Azusa Unified School District superintendent, said it best when he expressed his gratitude to the volunteers for their service: "Thank you for doing God’s work."