Each year, Inter-Faith Ministries and HumanKind Ministries recognize those in the community who have made a difference. This year, Newman University student Taty’Terria “TaTy” Gary was selected as the Light the Way youth award recipient for her commitment to helping others.
Angela Perez, director of development and community engagement for Inter-Faith Ministries, said nominations are received by the general public and a committee then selects the candidate that shows dedication to inspiring others to serve and has a passion to transform lives.
Joseph Shepard, Newman University director of multicultural engagement and campus life, nominated Gary.
“I chose to nominate TaTy because I believe she truly embodies everything that our institution stands for,” he said. “When St. Maria De Mattias sought out to establish our institution, she acted boldly and courageously. … I imagine she must have encountered some obstacles along the way.
“Similar to St. Maria De Mattias, TaTy has overcome some major hurdles in her life. When talking with her one-on-one, anyone can see that she is determined to beat the odds and forge a new path for not only herself and family but for those who will come after her as well.
“She is truly service-driven with a heart for others,” Shepard continued. “When we talk about empowering our students to transform society, TaTy is a living testament as to how we do that. She is a role model and a muse for other students to look up to. She is a catalyst for change and a true inspiration.”
Perez stated that the committee also found Gary to be a good match for the award and they were very impressed with Gary’s nomination. She added that Gary stood out from other candidates because of her involvement on campus and “how passionate she is with making a difference and helping others.”
Gary said, “For me, the ultimate end goal is to create a more loving and safe environment for all people through my small efforts.”
She especially loves working with the youth and being a positive role model for them.
“When I received this award I was very shocked. This award just shows me that all the hard work that I have put in is all worth it.”
Shepard stated he was hoping that Gary did not find out he had nominated her; however when she heard she won, she somehow figured it out.
“She came to my office in pure excitement and with a humble heart to express her gratitude for being nominated,” said Shepard. “But more importantly, to express how humbled she was to represent Newman University as the award recipient.”
Gary said she is thankful for everyone who was involved and is “just so grateful and honored.”
She plans to continue serving others beyond her college years through her major in genetic counseling.
“I think it’s a perfect fit for my love of science and helping others,” she said.
Shepard said, “TaTy represents everything our institution is all about; grit, perseverance, resilience and humility. I am so proud she can say Newman University is a part of her story.”
Gary attended Inter-Faith Ministries’ 68th annual Humanitarian Awards benefit in August where she was honored for her giving spirit. Gary shares more about her story and goals in this video.