Local service inspires global action

AU student Alissa Evans

Children greet AU student Alissa Evans in the neighborhood of her homestay in the Phillipines.

It was an unforgettable, life-transforming summer for Aurora University students who worked locally and traveled the globe to serve and study different cultures. The summer experiences followed an impressive year of service performed by AU students in the Aurora area.

“Students are really taking the helm on the service initiative that has become so identifiable with Aurora University,” said Kris Johnson, Director of Student Leadership. “They have moved from a ‘me’ orientation to a ‘we’ orientation on a global scale.”

Mallory Dodson gains nonprofit experience
Sometimes acting globally means taking a local approach. Junior business and marketing major Mallory Dodson pursued a marketing internship with Hearts in Motion in Indiana, an organization that provides care and medical treatment for children, families and communities in the U.S. and Central and South America. Dodson wants a career that involves travel and the medical field. Promoting the work of Hearts in Motion was a perfect fit. She hopes to travel to Guatemala to assist in OB/GYN clinics in the near future.

“What I did not know, and quickly learned, was when you work for a non-profit or service-based organization, you wear more than one hat within that organization,” said Dodson. “A service-based organization survives on relationships with the community, volunteers, other associations and anyone who takes interest in the organization’s mission. Maintaining these relationships and seeking out new partners requires a great deal of energy.”

Alissa Evans volunteers overseas
As a psychology major, Alissa Evans has a particular interest in the issues related to violence against women. Last summer, Evans spent six weeks in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines, volunteering at a women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. As the only volunteer working at the shelter at that time, she had the responsibility of planning a half a day’s worth of activities every day for the residents.

“I planned activities aimed at empowerment, including arts and crafts projects, games and journaling exercises,” said Evans. “My goal was to inspire the women by helping them realize their potential, while instilling a little light and happiness during a very dark time in their lives. The six weeks that I spent with those women were the best of my life. Every single day they amazed me with their strength, resilience, optimism and loving spirits.”