The Fifth Floor: Expanding the Neighborhood
The Fifth Floor is an initiative started by the HRC to reach into our community and our world to understand and engage our neighbors in the love of God, love of neighbor, and love of learning through compassionate service and genuine love for the enrichment of our shared life together. There are four physical floors in the HRC; the Fifth Floor is the space outside our walls, expanding our neighborhood.
This plays out in various tangible ways:
- Multiple times a week, we join with our friends in East Waco at a local middle school where we tutor children, get to know their families, and have an enjoyable afternoon playing with them.
- Students at the HRC can serve at Waco's Family Health Center to help connect patients to legal services--thus engaging in a holistic view of medicine, community life, and public health.
- We are partnered with the Straw to Bread program on the Nyakach Plateau in southern Kenya. Straw to Bread was started by Dr. Lisa Baker to provide medical care to and continue friendship with the people of the Nyakach Plateau.
- The HRC has a deep commitment to the people of the Northern Triangle of Central America. The HRC has committed to focusing our spring break mission trip on the people of the Northern Triangle, whether an international trip in which students travel with faculty and staff to do research and service with the people of Guatemala or a domestic service learning trip. The goal of this ongoing project is to support and empathize with the people of the Northern Triangle through supportive partnership with local or international organizations.
Through these initiatives, we hope to extend the work of the HRC beyond the four physical floors of the Honors Residential College buildings into the Waco community and beyond to the rest of the world.
Afterschool Centers for Education
The Honors Residential College proudly partners with local leaders to serve as tutors in an after-school program with ACE (Afterschool Centers for Education). Our student volunteers mentor sixth to eighth grade students both academically and personally, growing in friendship with the students and the Waco community.
This year, groups of students will serve every Monday and Thursday, 4:00 pm.
Family Health Center
Students in the HRC are able to participate in our community partnership with Waco's Family Health Center, an organization devoted to providing the highest quality healthcare to Wacoans. HRC residents interested in healthcare or related professions are able to serve doctors, nurses, other medical staff, and patients of the Family Health Center in weekly commitments at the local clinic.
Northern Triangle Partnership
For many decades now, Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala) has been beset by poverty and violence. Beginning with the civil wars and struggles for liberation in the 1970s and 1980s, these countries have faced an onslaught of dictatorships, street gangs, and economic upheavals. America has a hand in much of the troubles, and to this day, we are tied to the fate of these beautiful people. Given these intertwined realities, the Honors Residential College seeks to partner with the nations of the Northern Triangle.
As a part of this initiative, the Honors Residential College has partnered with Orphan’s Heart, an international childcare program dedicated to providing “Christ-centered services to orphans and other children and families in need throughout the developing world in order to meet their physical, spiritual, emotional and medical needs” (Orphan’s Heart Mission Statement). The HRC has also formed a partnership with Potter's House, an organization that strives to "walk alongside the poor in Guatemala" (Potter's House Mission Statement). Most recently, the HRC has partnered in prayer and service with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition, "a faith-based movement meeting the changing needs of asylum seekers, refugees and at-risk immigrants in collaboration with others" (Interfaith Welcome Coalition Mission Statement).
Some of the Honors Residential College residents went on a spring break mission trip with our partner, Potter's House in Guatemala City, Guatemala, during spring break of 2018. During spring break of 2019, the HRC continued our engagement with the people of the Northern Triangle through a trip to San Antonio with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition engaging with refugees from the Southern United States border. Through this trip and other initiatives, the HRC is hoping to develop coursework, funding, thesis projects, and other scholarly activities related to the Northern Triangle. Our work with the Northern Triangle is a whole group effort, and while occasionally a few of us will get to visit, all of us are committed to this promising vision.