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Service-Learning Newsletter
July 2020

July 16, 2020

Dear Friends,

We are (only) halfway through the year. Between natural disasters, military tensions, a global pandemic, economic fallout, fresh displays of racism and, before the year is out, a presidential election that is sure to be extremely divisive, regardless of the outcome, 2020 has many people holding their breath, just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

These months have certainly been confusing, saddening, frustrating, frightening, disappointing, and unsettling. Yet, alongside all this, the good, true, and beautiful realities of life have persisted. I have seen this mysterious juxtaposition again and again at home and at work this year. For example, during the Spring semester, numerous Ravens stepped up to support their community in Atchison, even when they were hundreds of miles away back home. In the articles below, you can read about some of these students and the ways they helped our local partners. Their generosity, creativity, and determination in response to the pandemic and its effects were refreshing and encouraging!

On a personal level, too, I have seen new life take root amid these difficult times: last month, my (now) husband and I had the joy of getting married! Yes, there was sadness in setting aside our original arrangements and a fair amount of stress in hastily re-planning things according to ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines. But those challenges, as real as they were, did nothing to dampen the love, hope, and gratitude that characterized our wedding day!

I share these reflections not because I think that the wonderful aspects of 2020 somehow cancel out the diverse experiences of suffering we have each had this year or that they fix the problems that caused the suffering in the first place; rather, I share these reasons for celebration – and invite you to call to mind your own – because they provide much-needed respite and help widen our perspective to see life in its fullness, both the beautiful and the painful.

Please know of my prayers for you and your loved ones. I look forward to sharing about our Fall service-learning adventures in our next newsletter.


Meredith Stoops Doyle

Director of Service-Learning