NNU Students Go the Extra Mile
My spring semester undergraduate class at NNU explored the topic of love. We looked the theology, philosophy, science, and practice of love. And I challenged them to love extravagantly!
In addition to reading, lectures, films, and other class material, I challenged my Love Class students with a special project. I asked them to go the extra mile: An Extra Mile Love Project.
The extra mile expressions of love my students made were inspiring. To note them all would require a long essay. So I asked my teaching assistant, Rachel Bryant, to summarize a few of them. Here they are:
Cassidy Ball, a nursing student, found a way to reach out to the busy parents in the nursing program as well as their kids. She took the kids to an NNU basketball game, providing their parents with a free evening. The kids and Cassidy had an evening of cheering, snacking, and even playing a little basketball themselves. Some of the parents used the evening to go on dates. Others used the time to study. They were all very thankful for the time Cassidy had provided. As for the kids, as she dropped them off, one of them asked her, “When are we going to do this again?”
Linnea Phillips, inspired by the negative attitudes she observed towards the homeless, found a practical way to show love to them. She built care packages with basic toiletries and necessities and a small Bible. She spent four Saturdays driving around Boise distributing her care packages. For the most part, her care packages were received with smiles and thanks. Linnea hoped that her gesture left them with more than a smile. Linnea wrote, “My hope is that as each person opens their care package, they’d find that someone loves them and I truly believe that is a very powerful thing. I’m not saying that my care package is going to get them off the streets; however, I believe that any act of love, no matter how large or small, can instill hope.”
Shantay Perry showed love to three young women by teaching them about beauty and confidence. She created an event for them called “True Beauty.” Shantay took the girls shopping, played volleyball with them, and held a sleepover at her house for them. She used these as opportunities to talk to them about the pressures and struggles they faced and to tell them the things that made them beautiful. At the end, she challenged the girls to do things that would build themselves up every day.
Matthew Silva created an initiative allowing his fellow students of the university’s outdoors club, NNU Journeys Outfitting Co., to give back to the outdoor’s community. He created a relationship between Journeys and Ridge to Rivers, an organization that builds trails. He took a group of students on a Saturday and helped cut out a new portion of trail with Ridge to Rivers. He coordinated several more volunteer days. Even though he is a graduating senior, Matthew arranged with Journey’s leadership to continue working with Ridge to Rivers. His efforts will help to provide trails for people to experience God’s creation now and in the future.
Connor Magnuson and Michael Delie wanted to help their golf team to develop their golf skills and to grow as a team. So, they picked out a book about golf. They then convinced the team to meet once a week and discuss the book over breakfast. As the project went on, Connor and Michael noticed some changes in their team. Teammates that had not contributed to the discussion much in the beginning became more and more involved. The team debated many of the points in the book. They translated this onto their sport; they became more able to discuss problems during games and practice without frustration and anger. Taking time to sit and talk every week strengthened the friendships between the teammates and helped them to better communicate with each other.
Kendra Wilson saw an opportunity to show love in the daycare where she works. She saw families struggling financially and wanted to help. She started by gathering up all of her and her sister’s old clothes to give to these families. She didn’t stop there. She left bags at her neighbors’ houses with notes asking them to fill them with used children’s items. She returned to pick them up. She found that people were willing to give, so she gathered donations in several more neighborhoods. She took the donated items to the daycare and set them out for people to pick from. Kendra knew she had fulfilled a need when, in the following weeks, she saw kids come to daycare dressed in the clothes she had gathered.
Again, these are just a sample of the dozens of ways my students went the extra mile to show love this semester. It is a privilege to live alongside such creative and loving people!