Four 2018 graduates of Eastern Mennonite University begin their one-year voluntary service terms with Mennonite Central Committee's Serving and Learning Together (SALT) program this month. From left: Kate Weaver, Stephanie Slabach Brubaker, Lara Weaver and Caleb Schrock-Hurst. (Courtesy photo)

Four recent grads begin MCC SALT voluntary service

Four Eastern Mennonite University alumni started their Serving and Learning Together (SALT) Program terms this week. SALT is a year-long cross-cultural service program of Mennonite Central Committee.

During their assignments, participants, affectionately known as “SALTers,” are immersed in another culture, living with host families or communal settings such as dormitories or teacher housing in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and Central America and the Middle East.

SALTers are placed in assignments that correlate to their skills and professional interests.

In 2015, a record-high number of nine EMU alumni served (out of 51 total participants) with the program.

At that time, program coordinator Wade Snowdon noted that EMU alumni are characterized by their proven “desire for and understanding of peace and social justice.”

“They come to us with a firm foundation in what it means to humbly work alongside communities in need in ways that are empowering and help to maintain the dignity to those we serve,” he added.

The year of SALT service often contributes to a strong resume and the development of attributes that employers find attractive, Snowdon said, including strong communication skills, creativity and adaptability, and a well-rounded and versatile skill set.

The 2018 graduates and their assignments are:

  • Kate Weaver (English, with teaching licensure) will be an assistant teacher with New Dawn Association of El Salvador, a grassroots Christian community organization that works in areas of preventative health, education, economic empowerment, advocacy and gender equality. She will serve in a childcare center preparing and developing formational activities in peace education, as well as facilitating educational reinforcement for local children.
  • Stephanie Slabach Brubaker (nursing) will be a English language program and health assistant with the Baromari Catholic Mission Salesian Sisters House in Bangladesh. She will assist with the development and teaching of English courses for boarding school students and some of the Catholic sisters and teachers, as well as providing after-school study support and extra-curricular activities. In the rural clinic, she’ll provide health care to patients and some administrative support.
  • Lara Weaver (psychology) will teach English and be a youth mentor with B4Lao, a vocational training and skill development center in Laos. This position is centered around teaching English but also includes opportunities to share skills or encouragement for vocational skills training programs. A significant component of the role is developing youth mentoring programming and young adult education skills.
  • Caleb Schrock Hurst (English) will be a manuscript editor with The Gioi Publishing House in Vietnam. He will assist local Vietnamese to tell the story of Vietnam in their own words by providing editing and polishing of first-draft English translations carried out by others. He will work in the English department with 8-12 multinational colleagues under the direction of a Vietnamese editor.