Changing the World One Plie at a Time
Dance Students Lindsey Sockwell and Amanda Owen Travel to Zambia and Latvia
While many students are looking forward to relaxing and kicking back this summer, dance students Lindsey Sockwell (B.F.A. ‘12) and Amanda Owen (B.F.A. ‘13) will be traveling overseas as part of church-sponsored missions to help people in poor communities.
Three days after the semester ends in mid-May, Lindsay, her mother, and her best friend will be heading to Zambia for two weeks through a program managed by Family Legacy Missions. There Lindsay will be a counselor at Camp Life, a series of week-long summer camps for at-risk children. According to Camp Life, 50 percent of Zambian citizens are children under the age of 16, and 10 percent of those children are orphans whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS. The organizers state, “Our goal is to show them how much God loves them. For many of these children this is the best week of their entire year.”
The first week of the trip will consist of onsite training and preparation; Lindsay and other volunteers will travel to different villages meeting people and promoting the camp. During the actual camp in week two, they will lead songs and games, conduct Bible studies, and more. The camp itself runs for eight weeks and volunteers are given options as to the length of their stay. Lindsay heard about the trip from a few friends who had participated in previous years. “I’ve always felt called to serve others and I’ve always wanted to go to Africa,” she said. “Everything came together so perfectly.”
Lindsay says that she’s always felt very blessed and feels an obligation to help others. As an added bonus, Lindsay will get to teach dance classes to the children as a part of the camp curriculum. “They asked me if I had any special skills and I told them I was a dance major,” she said. Everyone involved is excited about Lindsay’s opportunity to teach movement and choreography to children in Zambia.
The influence of SMU students does not stop there. In June, freshman dance major Amanda Owen will be packing up to spend some time in a small town in Latvia. “I love Latvia because it fits my personality,” she says. “I love the people, the culture, the little towns, everything.” She said this love for Latvian life happened when she visited the country for a week. Since then she has been trying to find a way to get back - and this time she will be there for eight weeks. The opportunity arose through her church in Athens, Tex., which already has missionaries in the area and will be providing housing for Amanda and another participant from the church. While there she will be setting the foundation for after-school programs that will take place in the fall.
“It’s summer and the kids will have nothing to do, so we’ll be holding Vacation Bible School and giving them a place to hang out,” she says. While Amanda has no plans for formal dance classes or performances, when asked, she smiles and says, “There will be dancing!” To raise money for the trip Amanda has been selling shirts with her own designs, through an entrepreneurial venture she’s calling “T-shirts by Manda.”
“I came up with the idea when I was doodling on my arm during class,” she said. “I decided to put one of them on paper as a birthday present for a friend. I liked it and decided to put it on a shirt.”
While Amanda’s fare is well on its way to being covered, she is raising extra money to help more children experience the camp. Amanda hopes to rebuild a sense of community into the area that is severely lacking. “I want to bring more people into one place at the same time, starting with the kids and moving to the parents. You almost never see them together,” she said.
“It’s about meeting their physical and spiritual needs,” Lindsay Sockwell says when asked why she chose to spend her summer doing mission work. No one would argue that SMU prepares its students to do great things and be active members of a global society. Clearly, Lindsay and Amanda will be doing just that.