Tuesday, Oct. 8, marked the 10th anniversary of Bryan College’s community service day, and this year’s event was extraordinary. Nearly 500 members of the Bryan community, from freshmen to veteran faculty members, gave of their time and resources to contribute in service to what this year’s theme calls “The Story of Rhea County” through traditional service projects and a new initiative called “Fun Day on the Hill.”
“Service day isn’t about a 6-hour project,” noted Community Service Day Director Ben Norquist, “it’s about learning to become true servants of our neighbors for the rest of our lives.” Acclaimed author and speaker Dr. John Perkins gave the commissioning address to volunteers before they embarked on their various projects. Over 50 official groups went out into the surrounding communities to help those in need, along with several privately organized teams. Those reached included both organizations – such as schools, nursing homes, and nonprofits– and individuals needing assistance at their residences.
Dr. John Perkins and freshman Paige Mishler welcome
Rhea County students to the “Fun Day on the Hill” Volunteers for the “Fun Day on the Hill” Luke 14 event received 47 special needs students from the Rhea County Schools Comprehensive Developmental Class Program, along with the children’s parents and teachers. The young visitors, ranging in age from pre-K to 12th grade, were formally announced by animated emcee Dr. Randall Hollingsworth and celebrated by the Bryan College cheer squad. Individually paired with a “Bryan buddy,” a Bryan student acting as his or her friend and escort throughout the day, each child had a chance for face-painting, playing music, and playing a variety of carnival-themed games.
Director of Special Projects Corinne Livesay said, “My heart was warmed to watch our community – faculty, staff, students, and alumni – put into action Bryan’s mission of ‘educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world.’ Everyone involved, whether served or serving, was impacted by this day that Joni Eareckson Tada described in her video greeting at our luncheon as a ‘celebration of God’s ability in our disability.’”
President Stephen Livesay told the service day volunteers, “God gave us an absolutely beautiful day, and I believe He was honored as we became his arms, feet, and voice in touching and encouraging hundreds of lives. I pray that God will multiply our efforts on such a special day and that each of our own lives will grow in knowing Him as we serve one another.”