Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Model Citizen: Student Wins CSER Award

Service for the elderly grew into a friendship

She’s been a model leader, citizen and servant,” associate professor and Director of Christian/Community Service (CSER) Lew Weider said from the convocation stage, Wednesday, April 27.

Shining moment - Wells accepted her award from Director of Christian Service Lew Weider and her CSER supervisor, Professor Allison Petit, in front of hundreds of students during convocation. Photo credit: Joel Coleman

Liberty junior Bridgette Wells heard her name echo through the speakers as the auditorium began to clap. The cameras flashed and Wells smiled, grasping the glass figure being placed in her hands.

Each year Liberty University recognizes a student who has gone above and beyond the 20 hour per semester quota of community service. This recipient is one that exemplifies Liberty’s mission and will be a light to the community in which they are placed.

“I was shocked,” Wells said. “I didn’t know I had even been nominated. It was an honor.”

Well’s supervisor, Professor Allison Pettit, had nominated her for the award, noting the many projects and multiple hours worked by Wells.

“We were talking and she expressed an interest in working with my church for her Christian service hours,” Pettit said. “Within two months Bridgette had completed over 40 Christian service hours and wanted to continue helping.”

Starting off her CSER work, Wells had a simple goal: to complete the 20 hours she needed for the semester and to make up for the 40 hours she had failed to complete in her sophomore year.

“We started to do service with Rebuilding Together. I let them know that I needed 40 hours,” Wells said.

When Rebuilding Together was unable to offer her the amount of work she requested, she began to work with Timberlake United Methodist Church, helping them in their service efforts throughout the community.

“We did roofing projects, painting and cleaning,” Wells said.

When the church started sending a group to help out an elderly woman at home, Wells passion for service ignited.

“We did some extensive yard work for her,” Wells said. “We worked with her flower beds because that’s something that she was passionate about. Then we did some painting at her house and then helped out with some clean up.”

But this work was not enough for Wells. The need was greater than what the service group was able to give and Wells wanted to meet it.

“I decided I would continue to go over there (myself) because she had more needs than we could meet in just four hours on a Saturday,” Wells said.

So Wells started to do service on her own, spending several hours a week helping her out around the house. She would do everything she could, from reorganizing to recarpeting. As time went on, their relationship became less about service work and more about friendship.

“Our relationship is a lot more than just a three day a week Walmart trip and service project,” Wells said. “We talk and text. It will definitely continue to grow in the future.”

Wells has currently accumulated close to 200 hours of community service with the Salvation Army, Timberlake United Methodist Church and Rebuilding Together, and has spent an additional 150 hours working with the elderly woman.

“Bridgette truly has a servant’s heart and is willing to help no matter what the situation,” Pettit said. “Her intentions are to serve the Lord and not expect anything in return.”

Wells encourages fellow students to find a service opportunity they can enjoy and do it wholeheartedly.

“When I talk to people about Christian and community service, people are always talking about service grudgingly,” Wells said. “We should all serve more, do it joyfully and do it for the glory of God.”

For more information on honorable mentions, visit libertychampion.com.

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