By Kynan Witters Hicks and Emily Mattson, NLC 2010 Class
For many National Leadership Council (NLC) alumni, there is a lingering hunger to be of service to mankind. As former NLCers ourselves and leaders of the NLC Alumni Initiative, we get the chance to talk with NLC graduates about their future goals and ambitions as they move through college and young adulthood. We’ve found that the drive to be conscientious global citizens is permanently embedded in our daily activity and likely won’t be extinguished. Through the continuation of volunteer service, leadership and the practice of Christian Science, we intend for the NLC Alumni Initiative to be an outlet for this passion.
What’s the NLC Alumni Initiative?
The NLC Alumni Initiative launched last year with its first volunteer service trip to Buena Vista, Colorado. Eight graduates congregated in Buena Vista for four days to help construct a house with Habitat for Humanity – an organization dedicated to putting “God’s love into action” by building simple homes with no-profit mortgages for low-income families. The trip provided the opportunity to reconnect with old NLC friends, engage in conversations about spirituality, support a local community and play some enthusiastic games of Frisbee. It also set the stage for what the NLC initiative would look like in the future.
During this trip, it became clear that the NLC Alumni Initiative was not meant to ignite a desire in NLC graduates to participate in servant-leadership-based activities like those they participated in during high school. Rather, it would foster a flame that has already been burning for four or more years. We already want to apply the knowledge, skills and spiritual insights we gained in the NLC program; these aspirations are not left at the door when alumni walk out of their NLC graduation.
Moving ahead, together
Through conversations with trip attendees in Buena Vista and other alumni, the NLC Alumni board has recently finalized a vision and mission:
To continue to foster a spirit of friendship, servant leadership and spiritual connection among graduates from the DiscoveryBound NLC program.
The NLC Alumni Initiative exists to provide a network for this kind of fellowship and service to mankind through annual get-togethers and other opportunities and information that connect alumni.
Our next trip will take place at the end of May at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. This reservation is often spoken of as the most underdeveloped community in the nation, with an average annual income of $2,500. Needless to say, spending time on the reservation offers opportunities to pray about God’s continued provision, loving care and protection.
We’ll be working with Wings as Eagles Ministries — an organization that provides material, educational and loving support to children on the reservation — to construct living quarters for volunteers to work more permanently with children at risk. We also hope to host a barbecue for members of the local Native American community. And we expect that our trip to the Pine Ridge reservation will offer plenty of occasions to foster a spirit of continued friendship, servant leadership and spiritual connection.