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Winter 2006 | Volume 29, Number 1 | Campus

Lilly Grant Supports Summer Service Jobs

WHEN YOU THINK OF A college student’s typical summer job, waitressing, landscaping, and nannying might come to mind. But what about church-planting in inner-city communities, providing medical care to homeless populations, or educating low-income families about nutrition? These kinds of jobs don’t always provide the income a college student needs to help pay for next year’s tuition and books. But last summer, thanks to a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., seven Seattle Pacific University students were able to sidestep funding issues and answer the call to serve.

“We saw a need to help students who wanted to do mission-driven summer internship projects, but couldn’t afford not to have a job during the summer months,” says Career Development Center Director Jacqui Smith-Bates. Drawing from the $500,000 Lilly grant for SPU’s SERVE (Spiritual and Education Resources for Vocational Exploration) project, Smith-Bates and her staff developed the Summer Service Internship Program.

Chosen from a group of 21 applicants, seven students were awarded $2,000 each for part-time, unpaid internships that ranged from working with the Tacoma Health Department’s Food Stamp Interviewer Program to assisting pastors to plant churches in Boston and Chicago.

Junior and premed major Rachel Ellis spent her summer working closely with a doctor at Outside In, a social service agency that aids homeless youth in Portland, Oregon. There she took vital signs and obtained medical histories from homeless patients, and accompanied the doctor and his outreach team as they walked through downtown Portland offering free medical care to those in need. Her experience was at times raw, even heartbreaking — but it was also life-changing.

“I’ve created a model for myself of what kind of attitude I want to have when I start my residency,” wrote Ellis, summarizing her Lilly-funded internship. “I’ve learned to make no assumptions about anyone, and how necessary it is to create a professional bubble, to triage and get the job done first (because lives are at stake) — and to save the emotional surge for the ride home.”

“All of the grant winners had very rich experiences,” says Smith-Bates. “We’re seeking permanent funding for this. It’s one more way we can help SPU students find their vocational calling.”

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2014: A Blueprint for Excellence shows "Seattle Pacific will be a place that knows and understands what's going on in the world, and it will be a place that embraces the Christian story," says President Philip Eaton. [President]

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Author of best-selling book, Blue Like Jazz, tells SPU students that "engaging the culture is not rocket science." [Books & Film]

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Courted by Division I soccer teams while in high school, stand-out Falcon forward, Sarah Martinez, hits goals on and off the field. [Athletics]

My Response
John Perkins writes a letter to Seattle Pacific about God's grace during and after Hurricane Katrina.

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