Faith Manuel and Kim Varney met at Liberty in their freshman year. They have been friends ever since. They are both graduating Elementary Education Majors. Throughout their time at Liberty, they have shared numerous experiences in Christian/Community Service by being prayer leaders, SLDs, going on missions trips, participating in local church ministries and finally volunteering with the Girl Scouts. This latter involvement has led to their receiving this award together.
Above Photo: Faith Manuel (L) and Kim Varney (R) receive their awards from Mr. Lew Weider, Liberty's CSER Director, in convocation on Wednesday, April 30th, 2003
It was Ms. Valerie Benton Smith (L), Field Director for Bedford and Campbell Counties Girl Scouts of Virgina Skyline Council, who nominated Faith and Kim for this award. According to Valerie, there was a great need at the Body Camp Elementary School in the Smith Mountain Lake region. This area has had no leadership for over 10 years due to high crime, and drug and alcohol abuse. "No one was willing to take that position because it is a high risk area," she stated."
Valerie Smith (L) with Faith (M) and Kim (R)
Kim and Faith stood out to her in two ways. First was how they spearheaded an initiative not only to help the at-risk girls at the school themselves, but went beyond the call of duty and recruited many volunteers from that area to do the same. "Because of the effort, prayer and energy from Kim and Faith, that motivated local volunteers to get involved. It is now finally happening!"
Secondly, what impressed Valerie about these two young ladies was that through their commitment, diligence and sacrifice, it became apparent to her that they desire to serve not to fulfill CSER hours, but in order "to change lives." She remarks, “These girls have great passion and they have great conviction with everything that they do. I commend them extremely.” Once they became aware of the great need, Valerie states, “It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing, they heard about it and they said they would do it because they wanted to really work with girls who desperately needed their help. I treasure that and I love them for that, and I wish we had millions of people like that around in this world.” Don't we all?
Congratulations Kim and Faith, for your outstanding service to our Lord and people!
Kim Varney is planning to stay in the area, either Lynchburg or Bedford, and teach after graduation. When asked about her CSER experience and how she feels about Liberty's requirement, she stated, "It gives you the opportunity to get involved in the community, like with my case I usually work with children a lot so that helped with my major and what I like to do; working with kids. I think if you look at it as something you can learn and grow in, then it won’t be something in which you are just putting in hours."
Faith Manuel plans on going to Africa to teach second grade for two years after she graduates. Her attitude toward Christian Service? "It’s something I have a passion for. I have committed my life to do full-time Christian Service in whatever capacity that God wants to use me." She finds great joy in this, and says, "when you focus on eternal things, even when you get stressed about things, keeping an eternal perspective gives you the joy of the Lord.”
Faith gives the following advice to Liberty students still involved in, or just getting ready to start, their CSER. "I think that if you decide to put your heart into it, and you always make sure you’re choosing something that you feel you can put your heart into, you’ll enjoy it more. I think that’s a better idea as opposed to getting the easiest, quickest thing. Ask the Lord to give you one and to give you a passion for what you’re doing and it’s all the more worth while.”