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Engaging the Culture Archives

Helping the Helpless

SPU junior Kelly Hogan Exploited people of the world have a friend in Kelly Hogan. The Seattle Pacific University junior believes that the red letters in her Bible not only quote Jesus but reveal much of his heart. “Jesus meant what he said — feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give people a place to rest their heads.”

She recognizes that not every parent of a Seattle Pacific student will find comfort in learning that a son or daughter has volunteered to work in the inner city with teen runaways, or, as she has, to help women in the sex trade escape brothels and lead healthy, productive lives.

“I would just ask parents to trust in this learning community that reveals there is more to life than making a living,” Hogan says. “I am who I am because of the community I’ve found here; because of the professors who invest in students’ lives. What they have taught me is rooted in the word of God. This community will impact your children and that impact will be 100 percent positive.”

Living for Others

These are issues with which Hogan and her Littleton, Colorado, family — mom, dad, and two siblings — have wrestled. Her personal choice is that “living for others” is significantly more fulfilling than constantly seeking a sense of security for her. It is a big step beyond the short-term spring break mission trips that she took each year with her church youth group to Juarez, Mexico.

Particularly joyous has been learning “how to use my passions in tangible ways.” For the past two years, she has teamed up with fellow business students Joel VanderHoek and Jason Williams to place in the Social Venture Plan Competition sponsored by the School of Business and Economics. Last year, the three received $1,000 for Mobility in Motion, a plan to train and hire the disabled to manufacture wheelchairs and use the profits to donate wheelchairs to others in need. This year, the team received the $500 Student Choice Award and $1,500 Pioneer Human Services Award for Source Right, a plan for finding alternative ways to increase profitability for clients — without using slave labor.

Globally Educated, Locally Active

One of Hogan’s most ambitious personal commitments is to end suffering caused by human trafficking. This year she spearheaded the formation of a student club named The Abolition, with its members committed to becoming globally educated and locally active in uncovering and combating sex and labor trafficking in the greater Seattle area.

Through The Abolition’s efforts, hundreds of SPU students and other community members were made aware of the problem of human trafficking via forums, films, and knowledgeable guest speakers. Several dozen have opted for activism and taken their message to public rallies in the city.

Hogan recently participated in Urban Plunge, a five-day immersion program on the streets of Seattle. She did it to find out what it’s like to be homeless and what resources are available to the city’s homeless population. “It’s one of the best things SPU has going,” she says. In fact, it was SPU’s urban location that drew her here from Colorado because “it was a great place to start” in her quest to champion those who are unjustly treated.

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