TWU students learn from their community by serving it

“Yay boys!” was the welcoming that a group of TWU students got from some cheery senior citizens at Langley Lodge nursing home on Sunday October 20th. This warm welcome made some of the students blush, but it also set the tone for a great time of connecting with people from a generation different than their own. And this group of students were a part of a larger effort to connect with the Langley community.

During the end of October, 700 TWU first year students went out in small groups with the intent of serving the Langley community in forms service such as making and delivering food for the homeless, handing out roses and opening doors for strangers, running a non-perishable food drive and visiting the elderly, to name a few. As part of their ‘connections groups,’ each selected how they wanted to demonstrate kindness.

Second year Education student and student leader, Holly Sylvester, is proud of her group for selecting the Langley Lodge.

“There was a huge list to choose from, but [her group] chose to do something that put them out of their comfort zone,” says Sylvester. “As a leader, it was really rewarding to see my group interacting with people of a completely different generation and yet doing it so well. They showed a deep level of respect and compassion—it was really mature.”

Sylvester realizes that she has a lot to learn about the human condition. “People don’t change,” she says. “They might be older, but they are just like us. They’re not statues and they don’t go behind glass—they are still people living real lives. The fact that they are in a nursing home is irrelevant.”

Ashley DaCosta, a third year Nursing undergraduate and student leader had a somewhat different experience.

“We decided to crochet toques and then give them away,” she says with a grin. “Even the boys were game.” Though the task of teaching nine first year students to crochet is a little overwhelming, the lessons they are learning are worth the effort.

“I hope that by putting so much time and effort into crocheting a toque for someone they’ve never met, that they will learn a valuable lesson,” says DaCosta. “Not only is warmth and comfort not something to take for granted, but this project is a lesson in pouring time and love into something when you don’t even know where it’s going, or who it’s going touch.”

TWU students are encouraged to get involved in one of the many service opportunities organized on campus. And visiting the elderly and taking food to the homeless is not a one-time activity. Many TWU students are involved in groups such as KICK (inner-city ministries) and weekly visits to the Langley Lodge.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 35 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counseling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2007-09-26