DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — After graduation, many college friends get jobs close to each other or even share an apartment, but two Cedarville graduates have boarded a ship to teach missionary kids.

2019 Cedarville graduates Grace Flint and Kayla Casaletto are both from Indiana, and they met on the school’s cross-country team, according to a university release.

Several years after graduation, the duo went together to serve with Mercy Ships, a missions organization that provides hope and healing to the people of African countries by giving life-saving surgeries. Both Flint and Casaletto work as teachers for the missionary kids on the ship.

When Flint had the opportunity to teach second grade, she jumped on board. She teaches core subjects like math, language arts, spelling, penmanship, history and science.

Casaletto was hired to teach physical education based on her experience as a coach, but she also teaches life skills, Bible and student life.

The families on the ship have made big sacrifices to work there, completely uprooting their lifestyles to volunteer on the ship for at least two years, the release states.

Flint and Casaletto wanted to help the kids feel integrated and connected to one another, so they did what was close to their hearts: They started a running club.

“A team like this is a really great way to get to know people and bond together over experiences,” Casaletto said. “I wanted to give that opportunity to the kids. I prayed all summer about it because people don’t always like running, but it’s been very important for me my whole life.”

The kids have loved the experience, practicing, getting jerseys and racing on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where the ship is docked for maintenance.

“Being able to help make their experience better by organizing sports for the kids is where I think the biggest impact is for me,” Flint said. “I’m building relationships with the kids because of our proximity to one another.”

“I think the impact we’re having is creating an awesome and godly environment for the kids for the couple years that they’re here,” Casaletto said. “I want them to have the best experiences that they can in order to be well-rounded, whether that’s rock climbing, meeting locals from the island or a good education.”

“Honestly, being part of a running team here reminds me of being on the team at Cedarville,” Flint said. “We are able to share the intentional community we found at Cedarville with the kids on the ship.”

Flint and Casaletto both signed two-year contracts with Mercy Ships until June 2023, according to the university.

You can learn more about the Mercy Ships program here.