2013 City Serve Blesses Community through 18 Different Outreaches

IMG_2236With a record 700 participants, this year’s City Serve stretched its reach to even more areas of need in Orange County. On Saturday, September 14, Vanguard University students, faculty and staff experienced the joys of serving their community and seeing God work through their service.

This year, participants were able to choose from 18 different outreaches. Outreaches varied from working with specific organizations to providing wax and water for surfers at local beaches. Providing free parking for people at the beach, dancing with residents at a convalescent home, planting trees in a local park and packing boxes of food for families in need are only a few examples of the service teams did.

Along with an overall greater number of participants, this year’s City Serve had the largest number of faculty, staff and administration participants. Vanguard University’s President, Michael Beals, and his wife, Faith, joined a group that helped with event preparations, cleaning and maintenance at Krochet Kids’ facility.

After finishing their service projects, participants came back to campus for a lunch at the school. Many participants returned with stories of not only the impact they were able to have on the community, but also the impact the day had on them personally. “My favorite part of the day was getting to stand near the entrance to the café as teams returned and hear their stories,” said Kayli Hillebrand, associate director of outreach.

One group’s story came from service they did outside of their assigned task. While passing out promotional flyers for Convoy of Hope’s upcoming service event, one group of students came across a single mother and her two barefooted children. After speaking with the mother, giving her a flyer and encouraging her to come to the event, the students began to leave.  Feeling God prompting them to do more, they turned back and asked the mother if they could buy her and her kids shoes and some toys. The mother was surprised and very grateful as she accepted the gifts. “I’m not sure who was touched more – the mom or our students,” Hillebrand said.

“My heart for this event has always been for our campus to grasp how simple loving our neighbors can be,” Hillebrand said. “Our city has so many phenomenal opportunities to partner with the Lord and the body of Christ in bringing about change for His Kingdom and I hope that our campus will dive in with both feet.”

To learn more about City Serve, click here.

Vanguard University Receives Mayor’s Award from City of Costa Mesa

On Tuesday, September 17, Costa Mesa’s Mayor Jim Righeimer presented the Mayor’s Award to Vanguard University President Michael Beals.  President Beals accepted the award on behalf of the university.IMG_1590-small

Before presenting the award, Mayor Righeimer mentioned Vanguard’s U.S. News and World Report ranking in the top ten of the 2014 Best Regional Colleges – West category. He also said that when choosing a recipient for the award, the council looks for people and organizations like Vanguard that have made a real impact on the community.

Upon receiving the award, President Beals thanked the mayor and the city and assured everyone present that Vanguard would continue to be an active member in the community. He told attendees about Vanguard’s recent City Serve, a day where hundreds of students went into multiple areas of the community to meet needs and serve others.IMG_1609-small

After the meeting, President Beals said he is “grateful that the mayor and the city recognize the importance and impact of Vanguard on this city.” As neighbors, Vanguard and the City have partnered on many initiatives. The partnership has been “powerful,” he said.

To see other Mayor’s Award recipients, click here.

New York Times Bestselling Author Donald Miller Speaks at Late Night Chapel on September 12

DonaldMillerCardAt 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, the seats of Newport Mesa Church filled.

Highly sought after national speaker and New York Times bestselling author Donald Miller spoke at Vanguard’s first “Late Night” event of the year. Some of Miller’s bestselling books include Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and Storyline.

“Understanding Self and Story” was the topic for the evening. Miller encouraged students to discover what it would look like for them to live a meaningful life. He spoke of the obstacles that would keep them from their passion and how to overcome them.

A lot of Miller’s points dealt with the issue of identity. He told students not to identify with their failures or their successes. He described times when writing became less fun and more challenging because his identity was in his past success. This identity caused a need to meet the expectations he assumed people now had for his writing. When he finally stopped worrying about impressing people and just got back to writing the way he knew and enjoyed, he found success again.

Dealing with another area of identity, Miller described the origin of people’s fear of rejection using a simple diagram his friend created. He talked about each individual’s self becoming suppressed from a young age by shame and then the individual creating a personality to hide the shame. He described shame to include any characteristic or action of an individual that, in reality or just in the individual’s mind, will cause society to reject them in some way.

After describing the obstacles and giving personal examples of how he overcame them, Miller reminded students to find what is meaningful to them in life. What are their passions? He challenged students to just jump: to take the first step toward what is meaningful for them without fear of change or what people will say and think. Stop worrying about what other people think and be yourself even if some people reject you because of it, he said.

To view the chapel calendar, click here.

Vanguard’s Veterans Center Honors the Lives Lost and the Sacrifice of Service Men and Women since the 9/11 Attacks

FlagsWalkway9.11In honor of the heroes and civilians lost in the 9/11 attacks, Vanguard’s Veterans Center held a 9/11 Remembrance Open House on Wednesday, September 11 from 3 to 6 p.m.

American flags lined the walkways of Vanguard University on September 11 thanks to Vanguard’s veterans club. Knowing the sacrifice required to serve this country, Vanguard’s student veterans and the Veterans Center purposed to honor and remember the victims and the heroes of 9/11.

The open house was held in the Veterans Courtyard of Honor and the Veterans Resource Center.  Dominica Scibetta, the veterans resource services coordinator, said the evening was a “huge success.” It was a great time to interact with students, community leaders, faculty and staff. Refreshments were provided, attendees walked through the Veterans Resource Center and a candlelight vigil was held.

Reflecting on the event as a whole, Scibetta said: “It was a touching moment in which we saw the Vanguard community partner with outside organizations to honor the lives lost on September 11 and recognize the bravery of the service members who have fought for our nation.”

As vice president of Vanguard’s student veterans club, Jonathan Ramer took part in hosting the event. The theme for this year’s Patriot Day open house was the “9/11 soldiers from today becoming the leaders of tomorrow,” Ramer said. It was a time to reflect on the sacrifices made on the day of the attacks and the sacrifices service men and women continue to make today.

“Despite the fact it has been 12 years since the event, veterans should never be forgotten and the sacrifices made to have our freedoms should never be taken for granted,” Ramer said.

To learn more about the Vanguard Veterans Center, click here.

KCAL9 Features Special Interview with Vanguard Student Veteran Rory Self on September 11

On September 11, a special interview on KCAL9 featured one Vanguard University student veteran and the board president of Strength in Support (SIS), an organization serving veterans and their families.

From the marines to studying religion at Vanguard University, Rory Self is no stranger to stress. Dealing with the challenges of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something many veterans face. SIS Board President Dr. Evan Fewsmith said in the interview that SIS encourages veterans to drop the “D” in PTSD. He described the issue as being more of an intense stress rather than a disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress is “something that not only our military is suffering from, I think our whole nation after 9/11 has been experiencing a heightened since of stress and grief, and so in a way we can all perhaps relate to post traumatic stress and what that feels like and not just our guys coming home,” Dr. Fewsmith said.

SIS offers many services including counseling, workshops and the opportunities for comradeship. Upon his initial return, Self did not seek help. He dealt with stress, nightmares and anxiety. When he finally went to SIS, Self found their workshops challenged him with manageably stressful situations to stretch his capacity to handle stress.

One workshop Rory found particularly helpful was the golf workshop, where he learned to cope with different stress factors: performing the task, having people watch him and helping others all the while. Dr. Fewsmith said the golf workshop is purposed to provide socialization, comradeship and fellowship. “Part of the first step of any kind of healing is just bringing them into the fold,” he said.

Through the workshops and many SIS services, Self said veterans learn that “we can work through this, and not just alone, that we can do it with someone.” He added: “We’re not just going to get medications pushed to us, we’re going to get a team and a friendship along with it.”

To view the interview, click here.