APU Honors Students Who Model Servant Leadership

by Karla Shirvanian '10

The 2008-09 Servant Leadership Award recipients were honored at the seventh annual Servant Leadership Award Luncheon. The event, held at Il Forno, a local Italian restaurant, brought the award recipients, the faculty and staff who nominated them, and their parents together for the presentation of the awards. Established by Azusa Pacific University in collaboration with Barney II Foundation and Moore Foundation, the award recognizes and encourages God-honoring service by APU students within and outside the APU community. Each student is awarded $1,000, half of which is donated to a community agency of the student's choice. This year's recipients were senior social work major Elizabet Medina, senior biblical studies major Allison Risely, senior liberal studies major Stacey Kim, and senior nursing student Adah Fisher.

"This award is intended to honor those leaders who are often overlooked because their leadership is based on serving others, often with a great deal of what others would call sacrifice; they themselves would almost certainly not see it that way," said Judy Hutchinson, director of the Center for Academic Service-Learning & Research. "The recognition of these students as servant leaders is a very important reminder of what we are all called to be and do as Christ followers." Each student received a statue of Jesus washing Peter's feet representing the ultimate display of servant leadership and each nominator spoke about the student's accomplishments and model leadership. The student then presented the $500 to the community organization of their choice. Each student had a different organization representing agencies working locally abroad. Medina, who was honored for Service Within APU for her work including the planning of Azusa 101, presented the donation to Restitutio Ad Integrum (RAI). This program, started by APU student Yosselin Arroyo and campus physician Dr. Todd Emerson, works to bring awareness to the Azusa community about immunization and health awareness. Risely, who was nominated by a faculty and a staff member, was honored for Service in the Community. She was described by one of her nominators, Jenny Elsey, associate director of ministry and service, as an extremely dedicated and someone who lives among the people she is serving. "The only time she is not at A-Town Kidz [where she volunteers], is when she is serving at another camp. She has been the anchor to the program," said Elsey. Risely then donated back to the Office of Ministry and Service for A-Town Kidz, with all the funds going back to the students and families she works with. The recipient in the area of Service through an Academic Course, Kim, donated to Homework House, an afterschool tutoring program in Azusa for kindergarten through fifth grade students. When accepting the award, Shana Urive, program coordinator, spoke on the impact the program makes and the impact tutors such as Kim make. The final recipient for Service Internationally was Fisher, who was represented by her parents because she is currently studying abroad in South Africa. She was also nominated through two departments for her dedication to service abroad and her love for missions. Fisher donated to Hands of Mercy, an organization that trains churched on how to build "loft houses" to be donated to Mexico, supports pastors in the areas the houses are being donated, facilitates camps, and has begun international work.