Service is our middle name — Pope Francis Build 2017

Oct 17, 2017

At Newman University, service work is inherent.

Throughout the year, the Newman community takes part in projects that better campus, the community and even the world. On Oct. 13, Newman took part in the Pope Francis Build 2017, a collaborative effort of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and Habitat for Humanity.

The core values of Newman state, “The passion to serve others is integral to the missions of both Newman University and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. We actualize this mandate by fostering a distinctive culture of service in which each member of the community is encouraged to find personally fulfilling ways of growing through giving.”

Nursing students Erin Schueller and Lauren Keith take a break from cutting trim to pose for a picture.

Many Newman students have scholarships that require them to have a certain amount of service hours each year, and faculty and staff have more than 40 hours of paid community service available to them each year.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita has partnered with Habitat for Humanity for more than 10 years to help build new homes for deserving families in Wichita. They work with the Campus Ministry office, who then notify staff, faculty and students of the volunteer opportunity.

Nine volunteers gathered bright and early on Friday morning to help hang doors and trim in a nearly completed home. Bonnie Toombs, director of the Diocesan Respect Life social justice office, was there to greet the volunteers and say thank you. She has been helping organize the volunteer days for Habitat for Humanity builds for eight years.

Monica Borger, Campus Ministry administrative assistant, has been part of five Habitat for Humanity builds. She said, “There are so many wonderful volunteer opportunities around this community, but Habitat is one where you can actually see the impact that you are making. At the end of your shift, something very tangible is always completed. That is an amazing feeling!”

J.V. Johnston on the job site

Habitat for Humanity homes are generally completed during a five- to 10-week timeline. A  new goal for most builds is around eight weeks. Within those eight weeks, there are anywhere from 18-25 volunteer days. Depending on the volunteer day and how far along the project is, volunteers could be helping put up trusses, painting, or even installing cabinets. Volunteer days for this particular build began Aug. 17 and ended Oct. 20.

Vice President of University Advancement J.V. Johnston said he enjoys volunteering every year because he always learns something new.

Monica Borger working on a door latch

Borger added, “I have been fortunate enough to volunteer at different stages of each of the builds and so have gotten to see the inner workings of building a house from the ground up. The first Pope Francis build, we worked on the framing of the house and outside siding, and this most recent one we hung doors and trimmed out the rooms.”

Borger enjoys working for Habitat for Humanity “because of their extremely structured program to ensure success. Habitat is teaching people about long-term success and making sure that neighborhoods are ready to support the new residents.”

The thought and effort behind the builds are the reason she believes the program to be so successful.

Campus Ministry volunteers at least once a year to help with Pope Francis Builds.