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Honor society comes to aid of community center

December 21, 2010 : Allison Cundiff/Liberty University News Service

The Jubilee Family Development Center in downtown Lynchburg is still seeing the benefits of a large donation made this year by the Liberty University chapter of the international business honor society Sigma Beta Delta (SBD).

The Jubilee Center is a local nonprofit organization that helps at-risk youth develop academic and social skills, and also provides family services to encourage personal, social and spiritual growth. The center was struggling financially until Liberty business professor Scott Hicks had an idea.

Hicks, a Liberty alumnus and SBD treasurer, first heard about Jubilee last spring when a neighbor invited him and his wife to a fundraiser for the center.

“We didn’t even know who they were at the time. We just heard they had a lot of financial trouble and they were a great organization in the city and that they had a huge impact,” Hicks said.

SBD, which includes about 170 residential and online student members, agreed to donate $8,000 ($4,000 from society dues and $4,000 from an anonymous donor) if the center could raise another $8,000 to match it, which it did.

“I just felt that God laid it on my heart,” Hicks said. “What better way to get our resident and online students involved in something that impacts the community?”

He said the donation is in line with the society’s mission and purpose.

“One of the things they [SBD] is concerned with which totally aligns with our Christian worldview is that they want to build business leaders who, when they leave school, will be able to go out and impact their communities in a positive way.”

Tance Laughon, special events coordinator at the Jubilee Center, said because the center’s services are free during the school year, donations from individuals and businesses are important. She said SBD’s donation helped cover the costs of utilities and the center’s summer camps.

“It was a real blessing … . For someone to give you a totally unrestricted donation and to allow you to put it where it can be best used, it’s a rarity to get something like that from an organization,” Laughon said. “It came at a wonderful time. I can’t think of a time in my last seven years when we’ve needed it more.”

Scott Hicks

SBD members volunteered at the center this fall and some did their Christian Service there (a requirement for all Liberty students). Laughon said there are more Liberty students volunteering at Jubilee than ever before.

Jaclyn Hoffman, a senior business management major and SBD member, recently volunteered to help clean the Jubilee center after an open house event.

“It is important that students at Liberty University get involved in the community because we have so much to give,” she said. “Christians are called to be servants, and when we serve from the joy we have from Christ, I personally believe that is a huge statement of faith and a refreshing blessing to those in the community.”

Sigma Beta Delta honors students who have attained superior scholastic achievement in business programs in regionally accredited colleges and universities. The Greek characters “sigma, beta and delta” represent “wisdom, honor and the pursuit of meaningful aspirations.” Membership is open to all junior, senior and graduate student business and accounting majors who are in the upper 20 percent of their class.

The Liberty chapter of SBD was founded in 1997. Professor Bob Rencher is president and professor Bob Mateer is vice president. There are 342 chapters of SBD, with more than 57,000 members.