This year the Christian/Community Service Volunteer of the year award goes to two outstanding students; Nathaniel Saxon, an Elementary Education Major getting ready to start his student teaching in the fall, and Amanda Forth, a graduating Communications Major.
MEET NATHANIEL SAXON
"Nate" has been serving at Liberty University’s Graduate Writing Center. Here he spends his time, about one hour three times a week, working with some of our Korean students. He converses with them in “friendly conversation” to help them improve their language skills and to ease them through the cultural transitions they face when they arrive in the United States.
He was nominated by his supervisor, Dr. Emily Heady, who describes Nathaniel as, “unusually dedicated,” “caring and loving toward those he serves” and “a model of what the CSER program is meant to be.”
In Nathaniel’s opinion CSER is “a good thing.” Although he thought, originally, it was just for "publicity for Liberty," he now sees that it is an arm by which Liberty reaches out to the needs of others. He states, “It helps Liberty, it also helps a lot of people. I see its use now, it’s useful and it’s a good feeling when you help out other people.”
When asked about Liberty University’s CSER requirement, Nathaniel admitted that, at first, he was not “too keen” on it, thinking to himself, “it’s my time, I don’t want to help other people, I want to spend my time doing my own thing.” He is glad, however that he was required to do it, because he probably would not have had the experiences he has had, like going to Korea, and teaching skills for his major that he has developed without it. He now states, “I’ve enjoyed it, and I don’t regret any of the time I’ve spent helping people.” He said, further, “I didn’t expect it, but I really like it.”
To his Liberty peers, Nathaniel advises, “don’t think of it just as something that Liberty is making you do. If you do that, you’re not going to have fun. Try a number of things every semester, until you find something you like doing.”
Dr. Heady further shared, “We’ve had a lot of Christian Service people do a great job for us, but they ‘put in their hours.’ Nathaniel, however, has “gone above and beyond; way over the hours that he had to do. His level of personal dedication is amazing. It’s almost like he’s doing it because he believes he should be doing it, and the requirement doesn’t even matter for him.”
Email Nathaniel with congratulations and comments
MEET AMANDA FORTH
"Mandi" is a graduating Communications Major. She came here because it is a “conservative” and “patriotic” school. Mandi’s love for the military extends back to her childhood growing up as a military “brat.” In the Fall of 2007, in recognition of a need and an opportunity, she started a campus organization called “Students Behind Our Soldiers.” Under her leadership, SBS has collaborated with university administrators and local military units to develop the club and its involvement with activities designed to show appreciation to our military and raise the awareness of what they do for us among the student body. A major part of the SBS’s efforts is to raise donations for care packages to be sent overseas to military members currently serving in war. SBS has sent at least 150 of these packages to date.
Her supervisor described her as “self-starting and hard working,” as well as “a highly motivated young woman who exhibits tremendous leadership skills and the ability to pass on a vision” with an “enthusiasm that is contagious.” “What astounds me about Mandi,” he states, “is her seemingly tireless passion to serve members of the military and develop creative ways to show appreciation for them.” Over the last year SBS has "slowly and surely" came up with new ideas to show appreciation to our military and to help the students become aware of the military and what it does for them to protect their freedoms.
Requiring Christian/Community Service is, in Mandi’s view, “a great idea” because it gives students great experience prior to entering the work world. “If the student plays it smart,” by which she means “directing Christian Service toward your major,” “they can actually grow and benefit from Christian Service.” She advises her fellow students to “find something your passionate about, not just something to fulfill a requirement. There’s enough organizations on campus to more than sufficiently be able to do that. Find something you really love to do and roll with it.”
Not just applying to CSER at Liberty, but to all of life, Mandi shares, “If you’re just going to skirt by in life, you’re not really going to get anywhere, but if you jump in headlong you can really do a lot of cool things.” Mandi’s passion is rooted in her Christian faith. She says that it was “One of the main reasons I wanted to do what I was doing.” To her, there is no one that has a more urgent need for the gospel than “those serving on the front lines putting their lives in danger every single day.”
Email Mandi with congratulations and comments (also if you are interested at all in Students Behind our Soldiers)
The Christian/Community Service Office would like to extend our appreciation to these two young Champions who have served their neighbors in love and prvided an example for all of us to follow in our own efforts to be Christ in our communities.
The CSER Office would also like to acknowledge the other nominees for this award for their excellent achievements and exemplary service as well: