Thursday, November 10, 2011

Impacting Our Local Community

LeTourneau University's participation in the Greater Longview United Way (GLUW) campaign was acknowledged recently by Donna Mahurin, the executive director of the Greater Longview United Way.

She sent her congratulations for our university's participation in this year's United Way campaign, saying:

"What an outstanding United Way campaign you guys had! Thank you so much for your efforts. Your campaign increased by 46% from $5,368 last year to $7,835 this year. Please let the staff and faculty know how much I appreciate their gifts. . . . Again, thanks so much for the excellent participation."

The United Way benefits nonprofits that improve the lives of people right here in Gregg County. One of the agencies that the United Way donations fund is the Boys & Girls Club of Gregg County, a private, nonprofit agency dedicated to youth development for children ages 6 through 18. Most of the youth live in single-parent homes in low-income neighborhoods.

By providing these children with a sense of belonging, understanding, influence and competence, the Boys & Girls Club of Gregg County inspires and enables them to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

The LETU volleyball team has been volunteering there each week since mid-September. About 10 student-athletes tutor the children on their homework and listen to them read. Our students provide one-to-one or small group interaction that many of the children don't get at home.

There are about 150 children at the Boys & Girls Club of Gregg County on any given day in need of tutoring and mentoring. Our students have said they love working with them, seeing it as an exciting opportunity to serve others. Some of the students go more often than the weekly schedule so they can spend extra time with the children.

Our student-athletes are not the only ones helping at the Boys & Girls Club. Other students from around campus also are volunteering, and our Director of Student Support Services Carlton Mitchell has begun a "Passport to Manhood" series with about a dozen 11- to 14-year-old boys on Thursday nights.

Our students, faculty and staff are investing in the lives of these children, helping them to learn, develop character and leadership, and to build relationships. In the process, they are receiving a blessing in return.

Even as I celebrate our participation in making Longview a better community, my heart is broken for our own university community and the losses we are mourning. We have all been in prayer with Wayne and Karen Jacobs and with Yoni Adonyi and his daughter. It is in these difficult moments that God's love is most evident at LeTourneau University.

Ann Marie Adonyi's funeral is at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 11) at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 909 Reel Road in Longview. The burial is at White's Cemetery. No visitation is planned. Engineering Dean Dr. Ron DeLap has authorized the cancellation of classes tomorrow afternoon for those engineering faculty members who wish to attend.