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Syracuse University Lutheran Campus Ministry receives $50,000 grant for community service program
Syracuse University’s Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) is one of 42 organizations nationwide that was recently awarded a $50,000 Youth Leadership Initiative grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The grant will enable LCM to establish a Center for Experiential Learning in partnership with First English Lutheran Church, 501 James St., Syracuse.
“Community service is part of the very fabric of our ministry,” says the Rev. Frederick Lampe, LCM chaplain. “This grant will enable us to expand student involvement in Syracuse’s North Side neighborhood, inviting area high school youth to join us and engage in this exciting model of faith and life.”
The terms of the grant require that LCM raise an additional $12,500 to support the new initiative. An appeal will be sent out to LCM friends and alumni, Lampe says.
The Center for Experiential Learning will provide community engagement and cross-cultural activities, service-learning experiences and leadership training opportunities for SU students and local high school students over the course of the next two years. A key component of the program will be a series of immersion retreats that will offer participants an opportunity to reflect on their service experiences and explore the relationships between faith and life. The goal is to sensitize students and young adults to others outside of their immediate world, while committing themselves to partnering for social justice.
LCM students have a tradition of integrating faith and life through their participation in a variety of service activities. Their efforts have been recognized with the University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Heroes award and a Chancellor’s Award for Public Service, both in 2002.
Four years ago, LCM students helped First English Lutheran Church realize its dream of creating a computer lab to provide basic computer literacy training for individuals who are otherwise unable to obtain such computer skills. The North Side CommunityComputer Lab was established with a small grant from a local community development organization; an alliance with a high-speed Internet service provider; a collection of 15 donated computers; and the group of dedicated students who cleaned and painted the room, pieced together a computer network and developed a computer literacy curriculum that students are still teaching today.
Other LCM-founded service projects include an annual campus-wide food and clothing drive, which takes place at the end of the academic year. The donations are taken to First English Lutheran Church, where they are distributed throughout the neighborhood. Participation in the food and clothing drive has expanded to include a broad coalition of University departments, area businesses and campus student organizations. Last year, the drive reaped more than seven tons of goods. LCM students are also active participants in such service activities as Habitat for Humanity, community after-school programs for at-risk youth and Crop Walk.
The Thrivent Youth Leadership Initiative program helps Lutheran organizations develop young leaders through service learning. The program has awarded more than $2.2 million to Lutheran nonprofit organizations nationwide since its inception two years ago.
Lutheran Campus Ministry is one of eight chaplaincies represented in SU’s Hendricks Chapel. LCM is “an open community of worship, growth and support.” Information about LCM worship, fellowship and service activities is available on the Web athttp://hendricks.syr.edu/lutheran/, by calling 443-2439 or by firstname.lastname@example.org.Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a not-for-profit Fortune 500 financial services organization helping 2.8 million members achieve their financial goals.