from the executive director
Messiah College has a long history of integrating a commitment to service toward others with the educational experience of our students. Indeed, our mission expressly states that we educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership and reconciliation in church and society.
As reported by our on-campus Agapé Center, each year literally thousands of student hours are spent serving with organizations in local, national and international settings to address community needs, to provide holistic learning opportunities for students and to encourage students toward an ethic of service and civic engagement. We are deeply fortunate to have the caliber of support provided by our Agapé Center to our students. The Center develops, administers resources and coordinates programs of service-learning, community service and missions trips for the entire Messiah community.
This issue of our newsletter focuses on the many ways our students are engaged in service. Further, it highlights and underscores the important role that generosity plays in the act of service to others. Your resources and support make it possible for us to demonstrate Christ-like compassion to others in a way that is not just a one-time act of kindness. A commitment to service permeates the ethos of Messiah, which would simply not be possible without longstanding support from donors like you.
On behalf of all of us who work to advance the mission of Messiah College – THANK YOU!
— Jon C. Stuckey, Ph.D., Executive Director of Development
Messiah Community Gives Big, students Celebrate
Generosity is contagious. Your kind act of giving has inspired our student body to celebrate just what exactly it is to have a generous spirit.
Give Big is a two-day event on campus hosted by Eyas, our student alumni council, and the Office of Development. Each year, this event encourages students to understand donors’ impact on their Messiah College experience and creates opportunity for them to exercise their own generosity muscles.
This year, the student event combined with our donors’ Giving Day event to make for an exciting two days where our community financially rallied around our students while our students celebrated donors’ generosity.
We are blown away by the generosity of our donors who raised $125k for Messiah College on this day. While donors went above and beyond to bless Messiah College students financially, students had the opportunity to engage in on-campus activities that encouraged them to celebrate donors and practice generosity themselves by supporting those around them.
At the pay-it-forward stations around campus, students received two cupcakes, hot chocolates or cookies and were encouraged to keep one and give the second to a friend, mentor or stranger. In the Larsen Student Union, students had the opportunity throughout the day to learn about the impact donors make on our campus. Hundreds of balloons decorated the Union, each representing 10 donors, allowing students to see how many people invest in making their Messiah experience possible.
The last event for Give Big took place at the thank you note station. Before dinner, students wrote two thank you notes, one to a donor and one to a loved one.
“Give Big serves as an important reminder to students to be generous in every chapter of life,” shared Amy Kimmel, junior Eyas member. “God tells us that He will multiply that which we give with a kind heart. Hopefully through Give Big, students are able to understand what a difference even a small act of generosity can make and can incorporate it into everyday life.”
A heart for service
The day started out like any other Thursday at Messiah College. Students woke up and left their dorms for the day. Professors and employees began to arrive on campus first thing in the morning, but they never went to their offices or classrooms. In fact, Boyer Hall remained empty the entire day. Everyone was here, but there was no Thursday morning chapel and no classes or work at all. It turns out, this was not an ordinary Thursday at Messiah College. It was Service Day.
Each April, the Agape Center for Service and Learning organizes Service Day at Messiah College, which is a one-day event where students and employees serve the local community. This year, Service Day was held on Thursday, April 11, 2019.
While classes and work paused for the day, Messiah’s campus buzzed with the arrival of more than 1,200 athletes for the Area M Special Olympic Games. Messiah students and staff had the opportunity to make the Area M games possible by volunteering as buddies, helping run the Special Olympic events and even dressing up as clowns for the day to cheer on and bring joy to the Special Olympic athletes.
Students also had the opportunity to serve off campus for the day by volunteering for projects with Messiah’s community partners in the region. Some students decorated and assembled gift bags for organizations such as Caitlin’s Smiles, while others organized food donations for nonprofits like Silence of Mary Homes. Others did physical labor and spring cleaning for organizations around the community.
Messiah loves to serve the community on Service Day. Although we join as a campus on a particular day each April to celebrate service, our Messiah students continue to serve others throughout the year, being the hands and feet of Jesus in our local community and abroad.
“Service Day was awesome. I had done Special Olympics in the past, but still got a little anxious before the event. As soon as I was buddied up, all my worries went away and it turned into a super fun day, just as I had hoped! Service is so important because it not only helps aid others, but also allows so much growth within ourselves.”
— Bethany Birchfield ’22, human development and family science
Your generosity furthers opportunity
Without donors like you, Messiah would not be able to provide these opportunities that make the Messiah experience so special. Thank you for continuing to support Messiah and for growing opportunities for our students!
How can we Give Big everyday: “I Give Big by making intentional relationships and trying to be energetic and positive to those I’m around.”
—Clara Haubold ’21, human development and family science