MNU Students Lead Service Project For The Underserved

August 27, 2013
Degage-Black

MNU students are known for their passion to serve others. In fact, every year they give their time and money to raise funds for the university’s student-led Passion to Serve project. This year the project’s goal is $70,000 to help build a school in Haiti where currently more than 350 students are meeting in what could be called a shed.

The project is called Dégagé \dā-ˌgä-ˈzhā\ which is a Creole word meaning to "make do with what you have." Dégagé is a well-known mindset in Haiti where people have learned to live with few material goods or modern conveniences. Through this project the remote mountain village of Cascade Pichon, Haiti, will benefit from the construction of a school that will provide education to more than 300 Haitian children.

Partnering with Heart to Heart International, the organization that will supervise construction of the school, MNU students will raise money through several means. Two Dollar Tuesdays will seek $2 donations every Tuesday at MNU’s community chapel service. Students will plan fundraisers throughout the year and anyone can donate online at www.mnu.edu/passion. Donors should check with their employers to see if they have gift matching programs that essentially double what the donor gives.

Previous Passion to Serve projects have helped build a health clinic in Guatemala, make improvements to an orphanage in Kenya and provide a van and other materials for Kansas City Urban Youth Center. This year’s goal is $20,000 above the record amount raised by Passion to Serve in 2010. Student leader Dylan Aebersold, a junior intercultural studies major from St. Joseph, Mo., says the goal is lofty but achievable.

“We have 10 students who have visited this tiny rural community, and 20 more will journey there in January, Aebersold said. “More people that are passionate about a project like this means more influence upon the MNU community. Also, we are providing a greater variety of ways to give and contribute.”

The MNU students traveling to Cascade Pichon in January 2014 will start building the school’s foundation with funding and assistance from the Find Us Faithful foundation, another Heart to Heart partner in the project. Additional partners include three more Nazarene universities, Mount Vernon, Southern and Point Loma, as well as the Government of Haiti (GOH) which will pay the salaries of five teachers and the school principal. Altogether the project will cost more than $250,000, according to Heart to Heart official Steve Weber.

Updates on the progress of MNU’s Passion to Serve project will be posted on www.mnu.edu/passion and will include student blog posts.