Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in service news

b2ap3_thumbnail_Monogram Small.jpgBefore traveling home for Waynesburg University’s Thanksgiving break, three students and one faculty member will stay on campus to serve the local community.

The group will spend Friday, Nov. 22, through Wednesday, Nov. 27, partnering with Greene County Habitat for Humanity for various daily projects.

Evan Kephart, interim coordinator of University’s Bonner Scholar Program, will lead the team.

“Our main goal is to expose students attending the trip to the poverty that exists around them in Greene County and inspire them to continue to give back to the community even after the project is over,” Kephart said.


Students participating in the service week include:
•    Heather Connors, a junior forensic science major from Scottdale, Pa. (Southmoreland High School)
•    Justin Johnson, a senior business management major from Washington, Pa. (home schooled)
•    Kyle Oland, a senior public relations major from Westminster, Md. (Winters Mill High School)

# # #

Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

Tagged in: service news
Hits: 449
President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) recently notified Waynesburg University of its selection to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This is the University's sixth consecutive year receiving the honor.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. CNCS is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering.

“Receiving this award for the sixth year in a row speaks to the commitment our students, faculty and staff have to service and the responsibility of engaging in our community,” said Dave Calvario, dean of students and director of the Center for Service Leadership. “In addition, service imbedded through the academic arm of our University assists students in uncovering their calling and passion, not just during their undergraduate experience, but after graduation as well.”

The Honor Roll, launched in 2006, recognizes colleges and universities nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovativeness of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which academic service-learning courses are offered.

Waynesburg University students contribute more than 50,000 service hours annually. Through its more than 50 local and regional agencies and a continuously expanding network of international agencies, Waynesburg University encourages students to become servant-leaders through a number of partnerships.

The University offers approximately 16 service mission trips per academic year. The trips are held during the fall, winter, spring and summer breaks. The University also participates in a number of weekend-long service projects in the local community and beyond.

In addition to volunteer hours, the University offers a service leadership minor constructed around service-learning courses. During the semester-long courses, students perform a set amount of hours of community service with a non-profit organization.

The University is one of only 23 Bonner Scholar Schools in the country. With support from the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, Waynesburg is committed to the program which was created to offer scholarship assistance to students performing significant amounts of community service throughout their time at Waynesburg. Approximately 60 (15 per class) Waynesburg University students are involved with the program each year.

“Congratulations to Waynesburg University, its faculty and students for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges.”

# # #

Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

Tagged in: service news
Hits: 516
In an effort to give back to those who defend the freedom of the United States of America, Waynesburg University has participated in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program on the graduate and undergraduate levels since the program's inception in 2009.
 
“The Yellow Ribbon Program at Waynesburg University has helped make my dream of graduating from a university possible,” said Thomas Brownfield, a sophomore nursing major in the Air Force Reserves. “There is an annual cap on the amount Veterans Affairs can provide. When my benefits reached that amount, the Yellow Ribbon Program stepped in, enabling me to continue my education.”
 
Between 2007 and 2010, Brownfield deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, serving in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. In 2010, the Uniontown, Pa., native left active duty to continue his career as a reservist at the Pittsburgh 911th airlift wing and to pursue an education.
 
“Waynesburg University's Christian mission was important in my decision to attend,” said Brownfield, who serves as a youth group leader at Abundant Life Church in Uniontown, Pa. “I feel that the University stands for more than just education, based on its mission. And that's also apparent in its decision to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.”
 
The Yellow Ribbon Program allows Waynesburg University and the federal government to split tuition costs that are not covered by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill for qualified military personnel and veterans like Brownfield.
 
The G.I. Bill provides individuals meeting the requirements a benefit equal to the most expensive public campus tuition in that state.
 
“The Program provides financial resources to enable our eligible veterans to fulfill their educational goals,” said Vicki Wilson, registrar at Waynesburg University.
 
As the University's certifying official for veteran's benefits, Wilson works with veterans to maximize the benefits they receive.
 
“The veterans at Waynesburg are lucky to have a person who is so proficient at her job,” Brownfield said of Wilson. “Other veterans I've spoken with have had to do a ton of things I have not had to deal with, thanks to her.”
 
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. Waynesburg University waives up to 50 percent of those expenses, and the Department of Veterans Affairs matches the same percentage.
 
Waynesburg University is approved for Veteran Education benefits. Eligible veterans and members of the National Guard may be eligible to use the G.I. benefits. Determination is made by the Veterans Administration.
 
Individuals are entitled to the maximum benefit rate if they served a period of at least 36 months active duty after September 10, 2001; they were honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001; or if they are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill based on a veteran's service under the eligibility criteria listed above.
 
Brownfield has advice for other veterans.
 
“While Veterans Affairs is your number one reference, Waynesburg University is extremely helpful,” he said. “Waynesburg is a challenging school where you will definitely get a concrete education.”
 
For more information related to undergraduate studies, contact the Office of Admissions at Waynesburg University at 800-225-7393. For information related to the graduate program, contact Graduate and Professional Studies at Waynesburg University at 888-481-6029.

 

 

Hits: 215

Posted by on in Blog
Spring Break 2012, Bolivia! 141 resized 600

In 2009, Esteban Saldi boarded a plane and traveled approximately 6,500 miles to Waynesburg, Pa., with a plan. Saldi, a Waynesburg University sophomore at the time, never imagined that just three years later his plan would actually become a reality.

A 2012 human services alumnus, Saldi recently led a Waynesburg University mission service trip to his native La Paz, Bolivia. This past March, Saldi, joined by Dave Calvario, director of the Center for Service Leadership at Waynesburg University, and six additional Waynesburg students, strengthened his personal partnership with Samaritan's Purse when he returned home to work on a project close to his heart.

For more than 40 years, Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization, has worked to bring assistance in the name of Jesus Christ to those hurting around the world. Inspired by the organization's mission and after his work on a well digging project during the summer of his freshman year, Saldi felt called to rejoin Samaritan's Purse.

With the longing in his heart, Saldi approached Dave Calvario, dean of students and director of the Center for Service Leadership, to discuss the possibility of a university trip. During their spring break this past March, Calvario, Saldi, and six other Waynesburg University students created a University “first” while breathing life into Saldi's 3-year-old dream.

Partnering with Samaritan's Purse for the first time, the mission service team was given the opportunity to directly connect faith, learning and serving while making a difference in a fellow classmate's native country. Saldi's mentor and peers came away from the trip humbled by the experience.

“Most of us take for granted on a daily basis that, when I turn on a faucet in America, clean drinkable water will come out,” Calvario said. “This is not the case in many countries.”

The experience was all that Saldi had hoped for, and at times, he said, seemed dreamlike.

“At moments it seemed unreal that Waynesburg students were having lunch at my house and spending time with my family,” he said.

Saldi, according to Calvario, added to the richness of the trip, Calvario said.

Also a Bonner Scholar, Saldi, spent more than 140 hours each semester serving others while personifying the mission of Waynesburg. Through his Waynesburg University mission service trip experiences and his work with Habitat for Humanity, St. Ann's Soup Kitchen and World Vision, his focus in life developed and changed.

“Service has become more than just volunteer work, it is a lifestyle,” Saldi said. “I serve not only because of the abilities I have, but because of the needs of the people around me.”

Described as a quiet, shy individual as a freshman, Calvario said he knew the University had gained “a diamond in the rough.”

“During his time at Waynesburg and being part of the Bonner Scholar Program, I witnessed a tremendous amount of growth in Esteban. He has truly become a servant leader,” Calvario said.

To describe Saldi and the depth of his kindheartedness, Calvario summarizes Luke 5: 12-13, where Jesus, filled with compassion, reaches out His hand, touches a man with leprosy and immediately the leprosy leaves the man.

“I have witnessed Esteban time and time again filled with compassion, reaching out his hand to help and love others,” Calvario said.

Saldi's willingness to take action and his desire to make a difference would eventually bring about Saldi's involvement in eight mission service trips, both domestic and international, through his eight semesters at Waynesburg University. Placing substantial meaning on the phrase, “saving the best for last,” Saldi's undergraduate career culminated with perhaps one of his most memorable service experiences to date.

Above all, Saldi recognizes the role faith and service has played in his growth. He plans to further expand that growth through his position as a Work Site Liaison for the Pittsburgh Project.

Saldi's personal commitment to making a difference has left a profound impact on Waynesburg University.

“Esteban has truly left his fingerprints at Waynesburg University and around the globe,” Calvario said.


Hits: 377
 MG 0592 resized 600

The Pittsburgh Project's purpose to develop servant leaders and uphold the dignity of vulnerable homeowners has much in common with Waynesburg University's mission of educating students through faith, learning and serving.

For several years, Waynesburg University has worked to build a partnership with The Pittsburgh Project, a nonprofit community development organization committed to meeting the needs of the Pittsburgh community. Each semester, Waynesburg students are given the opportunity to serve extensively with The Project in programs such as tutoring, work camps and community garden.

“The Pittsburgh Project is striving to provide for its community through education and home improvements for the elderly, widows and those with disabilities who fall 150 percent below the poverty level,” said Sarah Brandstetter, coordinator of Waynesburg University's Bonner Scholar Program.

This year, five Waynesburg students and a recent alumnus are dedicating their summers to the cause, serving as worksite liaisons from the beginning of June to mid-August.

Those working with The Project include: Kimber Blair, a junior interactive design major from New Castle, Pa; Darartu Boyer, a senior early childhood education major from Columbia, Pa; Ethan Hacker, a junior biblical ministry studies (children and youth) major from Butler, Pa; Blake McCarty, a sophomore business management major from Frisco, Tx; Esteban Saldi a 2012 human services alumnus from La Paz, Bolivia and Steven Snow, a sophomore criminal justice administration major from Butler, Pa.

“I decided to serve at the Pittsburgh Project this summer so that I could minister to people in my home city,” Hacker said. “I like working hands on and doing labor. I am excited to work with the homeowners and other groups to make the city a little bit better every day.”

Dave Calvario, Director of the Center for Service Leadership, and Brandstetter have worked alongside students within The Project throughout the years and regularly encourage students to take the next step when it comes to serving others.

“Sarah Brandstetter and Dave Calvario have always been supportive and influential in my life, and they are the ones who helped me decide to work with The Project my first summer,” Blair said.

Proud to be part of an organization that has genuine interest in the people of Pittsburgh, Blair reflected on how God has opened her eyes to the need in the area.

“There's a need to care for vulnerable, sometimes neglected, homeowners who are unable to continue the upkeep on their own homes,” she said. “There is a need for positive influences in the lives of the youth. There is a need for reconciliation between gangs and other groups.”

With all of the need in the Pittsburgh area, and around the world, there is an even bigger need for individuals like these Waynesburg students and alumnus who have given their summers in order to serve God and make a difference for those around them.


Hits: 185