Students Participate in Solidarity Sleep Out as Part of Movement to End Youth Homelessness

DSC_0387Fog and cold settled across Heath Lawn on Nov. 9-10 as students attempted to sleep during the Solidarity Sleep Out. The goal of the sleep out is to bring awareness to the issue of youth homelessness.

The evening began in Needham Chapel with a time of worship and a message about youth homelessness. Tanya Riches, a former Hillsong Band member, led worship and Sandie Morgan, the Global Center for Women and Justice director and a professor at Vanguard University, shared a message and spent the night as well.

“She helped us see different sides of homelessness,” Live2Free President Barbara Isaac said about Morgan’s message. People often picture older, scruffy, dirty individuals as homeless, but do not take into consideration the many young people who do not have homes and are still going to school, Isaac said. She described an example Morgan gave of a young person sitting outside at night under a streetlight to finish homework so the other individuals living in his or her rented room could sleep.

After the chapel, students participating in the Sleep Out went to Scott Courtyard to get some snacks and gather for a bit before setting up camp on Heath Lawn. All snacks were donated to Morgan’s family and violence class from businesses in the area. Her students were required to ask for donations in order to experience another aspect of being homeless.

Once students finished snacking, they began to spread out across the lawn to find where they would make their bed for the night. Some students had tents, some used sleeping bags and some had nothing. Most gathered in small groups to chat and pass the time in the cold and eventually ended up as clumps snuggled together as they tried to sleep.

Describing the physical experience of her night, Isaac said: “It was really cold and uncomfortable. My back hurt in the morning.” As a sophomore, this was Isaac’s second solidarity sleep out. The experience allowed her and the other students to place themselves in the shoes of homeless youth, she said. “I just can’t imagine not being able to come home to a bed, pillow, blanket, hot water,” she added.

The next morning, students woke up with the sun, packed up their belongings, ate leftover coffee and bread and headed to their homes. Many climbed right into their beds to sleep, Isaac said, adding that she did the same her first year. Looking to the future, Isaac said she would like to see students wake up in the morning after the sleep out and stay awake the whole next day in order to really solidify the statement they made by sleeping out. Helping out at a soup kitchen the next morning might be a good addition to the sleep out, she said. If students stay awake the next day, they really “experience the fatigue and exhaustion like a homeless person,” she said.

Overall, Isaac said the Solidarity Sleep Out had a good turnout, helped students understand some of the struggles that homeless youth experience and, at least in her case, inspired a desire to act.

To learn more about Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice, click here.

El Puente to Host Night of Latin Music and Dance

BiggerCafeFlyerSalsa and hot chocolate, a mix that is only good when one is a dance and the other a drink. Come to El Puente’s Café con Leche for a night of Latin music and dance, pan dulce and hot chocolate.

On Nov. 22, starting at 8:30 p.m., The Cove will transform into a warm café with hot beverages, lamps and a stage. There will be live performances of authentic Latin music and dance followed by a video. El Puente’s club president, Heidi Lepe said the event will have a “very intimate setting” that will “welcome people to see the culture in a different way.”

As the leader of El Puente, one of Vanguard University’s diversity clubs, Lepe said her goal is to make all students feel welcome and “at home in the culture.” The club helps students to connect and explore the rich cultural heritage of Latin America. With the help of her seven cabinet members, Lepe plans and prepares for all of El Puente’s events. Café con Leche will be their last event for the fall semester.

To learn more about Vanguard’s diversity clubs and their events, click here.

Business Professionals Teach Students How to Live out their Faith in the Business World

BusinessChapelOn Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. in the Great Commission Hall, about 20 students gathered to connect with and receive advice from four Christian business professionals on  how to integrate their faith in a secular career.

The four business professionals were Jeanette Cheng, a strategist; Paul Holt, the CFO for Quality Systems Inc.; Monica Lukoschek, an attorney for U.S Immigration Group; and Erik Paulson, the owner of Systems Waterproofing.

Alexa Barajas, chief of the committee for business chapels, coordinated the event. Students were shown a very Christ centered business model, Barajas said. The most significant point that she recalled came while listening to her mother, Lukoschek, speak at one of the tables. Lukoschek’s point was that in the business world there will always be corners to cut, so for students to truly integrate their Christian faith in that world, they must have integrity and not cut corners, Barajas said.

To learn more about Vanguard’s business department, click here.

Janette…ikz and Ezekiel to Perform Spoken Word Event on Nov. 13

diversity-pic2After an impactful event in the spring semester, poets Janette…ikz and Ezekiel are returning to the Vanguard University campus for another night of spoken word on Nov. 13 from 8 to 9 p.m.

Poets Janette…ikz and Ezekiel captivate and inspire audiences while sharing important Biblical truths through spoken word. Diversity Events Coordinator Shannon Price, who is planning the event, said they reach a different audience by “integrating faith into hip hop culture.” Spoken word allows people to “express faith in a variety of different ways… It is very deep and raw,” Price added.

Looking forward to the event, Price said that people should come because, for many, it will be something they have never experienced before. The spring semester event was her first time at a spoken word event. She had high expectations for the event and it did not disappoint. “To see vulnerability up on stage is very new and refreshing,” she said.

This local event is open to the public. Some refreshments will be provided.

To learn more about diversity programming, click here.

A battle cry to serve those who have served resonates at Vanguard University’s Veterans Day Celebration

Vanguard University veterans resource center veterans day celebrationOn Friday, dozens of people gathered in the Veterans Courtyard of Honor at Vanguard University to honor the men and women who have served our country.  The Vanguard University Beautyshop

Quartets kicked off the ceremony with their harmonious rendition of the National Anthem.

The theme that emerged throughout the ceremony was one that veterans, their friends, and family know all too well: freedom comes at a price.  “Our families know the price of freedom,” said Sgt. Frank Orzio, USMC, a pastor at Wounded Warrior Ministries before he gave the invocation.  Referencing John 3:16, the price God was willing to pay for the salvation of his people, Orzio talked about how we must remember those valiant warriors who served and ensure that their lives are not wasted.

DSC00026

Presentation of the Colors

Sgt. Brent Theobald, a Vanguard University alumnus who is the Director of Veterans Affairs at Vanguard University briefly shared the important role Vanguard University played in his transition after returning from tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  He reminded the crowd that each year over 30,000 veterans return home to California and that it is our responsibility to help them make this transition a successful one.

DSC00033

President Michael Beals addresses the crowd

President Michael Beals next addressed the crowd, explaining that he’s been surrounded by veterans all his life, including his own father, and that their stories of service helped shape his respect for those who served.  He emphasized the need to create a safe space for veterans, citing how trips to the Mohave Desert served as that place for his family members, who helped each other to heal.  For Beals, the Veterans Resource Center here at Vanguard University is that safe place for student veterans to heal as they make the transition to their vocational calling here at home.

Keynote speaker Dr. Bill Peters, author of First Force Recon Company: Sunrise at Midnight, recipient of the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart and many others, talked about the wounds of war and how they don’t always go away with time.  In a refreshingly candid speech, he recounted some of his war stories, emphasizing how difficult the transition into civilian life is for so many and how helpful it would have been to have had a place like the Veterans Resource Center at Vanguard in his own transition.

Peters also talked about his experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), explaining that it took him 35 years to realize it was real and had affected him and so many of his comrades.  “It is difficult in identifying it and doing something about it is really God’s heart.”  Peters ended by commending Vanguard for its willingness “to nurture and to develop that which will really heal our veterans.”

Vanguard University fully yellow ribbon veteran program

Adrian Michael receiving his award

A special recognition was given to Vanguard alumnus, Adrian Michael, who worked for four years as a volunteer leader with the Student Veterans Club at Vanguard University.  A non-veteran, Adrian dedicated his spare time to serving those who he feels so strongly deserve all of our love and attention.  After receiving the award, Michael thanked everyone, and said, “To student veterans, I want to tell you that I love you so much.  You have given me such hope and joy to know that I can make a difference.  To non-veterans, defend them at all costs.  Remind them of their value and that they’re loved.”

DSC00096

Vanguard University Jazz Ensemble

The ceremony ended with the Service Medley, played by the Vanguard Jazz Ensemble.  The sound of the crowd’s applause as veterans stood for each Branch of the Military’s melody was a battle cry for those of us who have not served in the military.  Unlike the price God paid for our salvation – a price that cannot be repaid – we can repay our veterans by equipping them with the educational tools they need to become the men and women God designed them to be.

For information on how you can get involved, click here.