Eagle Scholars serve in Washington, D.C.

Having to balance school assignments, service projects and program events, the members of the Eagle Scholars Program are busy, but not too busy to take the time to serve others in Washington, D.C.

The Eagle Scholars Program helps freshmen and sophomore students of any major acquire and hone leadership skills for college and beyond. It aims to build connections, develop strong work ethics and diversify learning opportunities, according to its website.

Through the program, freshmen and sophomores gain the opportunity to work with other high-achieving and hard-working students and faculty members The Eagle Scholars Program gives students the opportunity to expand their network and connect with others. Along with learning to manage their workloads, students develop leadership skills through various opportunities, such as leading in “cross-cohort” groups or participating in program events such as the Spring Banquet and Social Connection events.   

“I joined the program to be able to grow my leadership skills in a collegiate setting in order to prepare myself for the future opportunities to lead those around me,” Skyler Dobrie, a member of the 2024 sophomore cohort, said. “My favorite part (of the program) was the people I was able to meet and the memories I made through being with those people for two years.”

Recently, the sophomores of the Eagle Scholars Program embarked on a weekend trip to D.C. and served with several organizations, including the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, Jill’s House and The MaRiH Center.   

The Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center is a faith-based nonprofit organization that aims to help women, men and families in pregnancy crises, according to its website. Jill’s House is another faith-based nonprofit that aims to help families raising kids with intellectual disabilities, according to its website. The MaRiH Center is a pregnancy help center that helps women in distress during their pregnancies, according to its website.

“They organized donations, cleaned, worked with children and (did any) other tasks needed,” Frank DiGregorio, director of the Eagle Scholars Program, said. “It was great hands-on ministry.”

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Bethany Peterson, one of the members of the 2024 sophomore cohort, attended the service outreach in D.C. and worked with the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center.

“During our trip to Washington D.C., we had the opportunity to visit different ministries to see how God is moving in the community,” Peterson said. “It was especially interesting to meet the people working with the organization and to see how they are using the gifts God has given them to further his kingdom.”

The Eagle Scholars Program places a particular emphasis on having a servant’s heart — serving others in the way Jesus did.

This service not only helps the students cultivate and practice the leadership skills that the Eagle Scholars Program seeks to promote, but it’s also a way for them to put these skills to practice in an intentional way.

“We have been blessed, so we want to give back to the community,” DiGregorio said.

Outreach and service are built into the Eagle Scholars Program. The program includes a service requirement with a minimum number of hours and no maximum to how much participants can serve.

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“Every Eagle Scholar must find a service opportunity and give at least two hours of their time,” DiGregorio said.

Students can choose to teach a Sunday school lesson, lead in community groups, work with charities or nonprofit organizations, participate in LU Serve, volunteer at CFAW events, or help organize and plan various Eagle Scholar events.

“Serving others is an important aspect of leadership,” DiGregorio said.

Serving in D.C., the Eagle Scholars demonstrated key principles not only of the Christian faith, but also of the program they were representing. As the Eagle Scholars Program aims to build and develop leadership skills, it will continue to serve others in the local Lynchburg area and in future visits to D.C.

Santos is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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