News & Events
MHC Experience Shapes Life Choices for Caring Award Recipient
Kasey Boston came to Mars Hill College with a passion for service, but it was her education and experiences during the past four years that have shaped that zeal into intentional life choices, she said.
Boston, a senior psychology and religion major, described that journey in a moving speech during the Community Service Convocation held in Broyhill Chapel April 13, where she was honored as the student recipient of the G. MacLeod Bryan Caring Award.
Boston described the clarity and self-discovery that emerged from last year’s summer reading selection, “The Translator.” In the book, Sudanese author Daoud Hari describes his decision to work with relief workers during that country’s genocide when he could have chosen a safer and easier life in the U.S. Hari says he returned because he could not feel safe unless “his people” were safe.
During Tuesday’s address to a full chapel, Boston connected Hari’s reasoning with her own: “I realized that while I’ve been struggling to figure out why I do these things, I’ve actually been trying to figure out who are my people, who matters to me, who am I responsible for helping, whose life affects mine?”
According to Boston, the answer is central to her understanding of why service is important.
“My experiences at Mars Hill have taught me that it is not ‘those people’ who are hungry and homeless, it is not ‘those others’ who are being abused, it is not ‘them’ who are being denied their basic human rights. There can be no real change until at the core of our integrity, we understand that ‘we’ are ‘they,’” she said.
The Bryan Caring Award is one of several awards for service presented each year at the Mars Hill College Community Service Convocation. The Bryan award is presented to one student, and one faculty or staff member who exemplify the spirit of Dr. G. McLeod Bryan (“Mac”), class of ’39, who has not only worked tirelessly for the cause of peace and justice, but has influenced countless others to join the cause through the years. From teaching at universities in Europe, Africa, and the United States, to community organizing and church work, to writing, Mac Bryan has been a consistent voice for the authentic dream of equality and liberty for all.
The award recognizes members of the college community who make significant contributions to a better community and a better world. The Caring Award recognizes someone who has made a positive impact on the community, whose involvement in the community is ongoing, whose action in the community is directed at serious social challenges and who works to connect the campus and wider community.
Boston was nominated for the award for numerous activities on campus and abroad which demonstrate the spirit of the Caring Award. She has participated in and/or organized numerous outreach activities on campus, including buying Christmas presents for local families, mentoring local elementary students, volunteering at an Asheville homeless shelter and raising money for stoves for people in Darfur, Sudan. She has helped organize fundraising efforts and participated in service trips which found her: working with underprivileged youth in afterschool programs in East St. Louis and Charleston, working in an orphanage in Honduras, painting and repairing a city wall in Puriscal, Costa Rica; and creating and beautifying garden spaces for two houses for homeless women in Washington D.C.
The 2010 faculty/staff recipient of the Bryan Caring Award is Dean of Students, Dr. Craig Goforth. In his speech at the Bryan Caring Award Banquet on Tuesday evening, Goforth credited his family, his church family at Mars Hill Baptist Church and his work family at Mars Hill College for giving him the incentive and the encouragement to engage in service work.
Goforth has been a friend and mentor to untold MHC students during his years as Dean of Students and adjunct instructor of criminal justice. He and his wife, Mary Alice, have been foster parents to a number of children over a period of approximately 20 years. He has also been a youth soccer coach, instilling the values of hard work, dedication, teamwork and sportsmanship.
Goforth is the Director of the Board for My Sister’s Place, a home for abused women in Madison County, and he takes an active role in supporting them. Further, he serves as a liaison between the college and My Sister’s Place, often encouraging and enabling MHC students to serve and volunteer for the organization. Goforth is involved in several community and missions outreach activities through Mars Hill Baptist Church. He also serves on the Madison County Board of Education, where, again, he works to connect MHC students with the schools for volunteer opportunities and internships.
Dr. Collette Love, an educational consultant who works with principals, counselors and superintendents throughout the country, was the presenter for this year’s G. McLeod Bryan lecture, on the evening of April 13. During the lecture, she shared her experiences helping urban leaders address the ongoing challenges of closing the achievement gap, raising graduation rates and improving school safety.
Also at the Convocation, Mars Hill College student Breanna Mason was awarded the Michael Emory Award, an award presented for an individual who demonstrates Christ-like compassion, loyalty and service to the economically, socially or emotionally oppressed and diligent pursuit of truth and justice even when such pursuit may be unpopular. The award is given in honor of “Big Mike” Emory, MHC class of ’94, whose life exemplified the criteria of the award. “Big Mike” was in seminary preparing for a life of ministry when a tragic accident led to his untimely death.
During her time at Mars Hill College, Mason has served as chaplain of the Student Government Association, a member of the Christian Student Movement leadership team, a Grayson Honor Scholar, a Montgomery Scholar, and a MHC Challenger. She has participated in several domestic and foreign missions outreach trips with fellow MHC students, she has completed countless service hours, and she has served on MHC’s Religious Life committee, while maintaining her grades as a full-time zoology major and regional studies minor.
A.C. and Susie Honeycutt, residents of Mars Hill, were presented with two awards. They received one of four N.C. Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service, as well as the I. Ruth Martin award which is given annually to a Christian who has served faithfully without any spotlight recognition. The award was established by I. Ruth Martin Award, a former professor of religion at Pembroke University, and alumnae of the Mars Hill College class of 1938.
The Honeycutts were honored for establishing and operating Fields of Hope in Mars Hill, a faith-based food ministry which last year enlisted over 300 volunteers of all ages and provided more than 91,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to local ministries like Neighbors in Need and Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries. Fields of Hope was also one of the 20 individuals or organizations which received statewide recognition from the Governor’s office for volunteer contributions.
Also receiving the N.C. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service was: Bob Cole, a volunteer who has worked extensively for Neighbors in Need, Habitat for Humanity and Mars Hill Town Library; Iris English, who has volunteered faithfully at Madison Manor Nursing Home all but three weeks for over 25 years; and the “BAM,” (Because All Matter) service club at Madison High School. Students in BAM have committed themselves to perform at least four hours of service to individuals or volunteer organizations in the community each week. Club sponsor is Karen Blevins.
Three organizations received Bonner Community Fund Grants for 2011. Grant proposals are written by the MHC Bonner Scholars in collaboration with a community partner and then the Bonners vote. The top three choices receive $1,000 grants. The three organizations that will be funded are:
A Hope Day Center, whose grant will be used to help individuals obtain birth certificates, which would allow them to have the necessary information for applying for jobs and housing. Tina Rathburn is the Bonner Scholar who wrote the grant.
Mountin’ Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center received a grant for installing new gutters and drain pipes to re-direct water runoff away from horse shelters and the barn. The barn aisle will also be resurfaced. The grant was written by Samantha Rybicki and Rebekah Crockett.
Barnardsville Elementary School received a grant to provide Scholastic Book reward vouchers of $10, $6, $4, and $1 depending on the amount of reading a student completes. Any leftover money will be used to expand classroom libraries. Student Whitney Ball wrote the grant.