SXU Student and Family Live Mission of Service
As a way to encourage commitment to institutional mission and to align with the standards of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Saint Xavier University (SXU) adjunct marketing professor Brian Radakovitz of the Graham School of Management (GSM) built a community service or volunteerism requirement into his syllabus. One of his students, Daniel Henry, found that living the Saint Xavier mission was more than just a course requirement; it was a teachable moment for his children and a way for his family to come together in compassion and service.
Henry and his family recently gave back to a local parish that was struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many churches have been shut down since the beginning of the pandemic and those who have reopened are only opening at 50% capacity, causing churches to miss out on stewardship offertories they would ordinarily be receiving from weekly collections, food drives and other sources of assistance.
Henry knew that his parish, St. Anthony Catholic Church in Frankfort, was in dire need, so he reached out to see how he could be of assistance. The church, which held weekly food drives before the pandemic, was experiencing a huge decrease in food donations, so Henry decided to use this as not only an opportunity to give back and exercise the SXU mission of serving compassionately, but as an opportunity to teach his children the value of volunteerism and service.
St. Anthony's food drives go to the St. Vincent DePaul Society, which is a Catholic lay volunteer organization whose mission is to help people grow spiritually and meet the immediate needs of those they serve. St. Vincent DePaul Society operates nine food pantries and provides financial assistance, emotional support and food donations to families in need. They offer person-to-person services to those who are lacking resources and suffering physically and mentally, and the organization knew that people in the community were hurting and feeling lonely and forgotten, now more than ever.
Henry has four children: a 12-year-old, eight-year-old and four-year-old twins. He and his wife found this volunteer opportunity to be a chance to help get the kids get away from distractions like sports or phones and spend time doing something for someone else.
"We woke everyone up early on a Saturday morning and ventured out to our local grocery store, where we spent about two hours shopping for items. We told our children that this project was strictly volunteer, so there would be no shopping for ourselves during this trip. It was time to think about someone else instead of ourselves," said Henry.
"My 12-year-old was reluctant to participate at first, as she didn't want to be woken early on a Saturday morning, but we explained how fortunate we are and how we need to be thankful for everything we have. We explained that there are many families who are truly suffering in so many ways, and that we all take for granted being able to feed ourselves on a daily basis. As we worked through the grocery store, my daughter began to realize how fortunate she is and suggested we begin doing this on a monthly basis. This moment was one of the highlights of the entire process," added Henry.
Henry found that the opportunity to volunteer came at a great time for his family, as he's been meaning to incorporate more service into his life, especially with his kids. Henry hopes to teach them that though life is very busy, it's important to make time for serving others. After his family made the donation to St. Anthony's, they decided to research other organization they could contribute to and came across Feed Our Starving Children, an organization that provides food for children in need, and now one they'll be contributing to regularly.
"I am so happy that we could give back during a time when there are so many in need. I didn't realize how much donating just two hours of my time would make me feel so good, and leading by example for my children was an added bonus. I will cherish this memory I've made with my children and can't wait to continue to give back to the community."