Laina Gunsallus (Lee’s Summit) has been awarded the 2014 Pritchard Humanitarian Service Award for an internship with “A House on Beekman” in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx of New York City, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. Gunsallus will spend the summer living in the neighborhood and working on programs for children, mothers and the community. A primary focus of Gunsallus’ work will be a summer camp for children.
“I expect my worldview to be challenged as I wrestle with poverty day in and day out,” Gunsallus says. “I anticipate deepening my relationship with Jesus as I learn how to live more compassionately, generously and rightly.”
“A House on Beekman” incorporates a holistic approach to the services they provide. The programs offered by the organization are effective in relieving poverty and suffering in a sustainable way. “A House on Beekman” supports families by offering children a place to develop creativity, do homework and learn about living their best life. Parenting resources are provided for adults. Gunsallus sees the internship as a valuable experience. “This will be of incredible importance to my study of nonprofit leadership.”
Thinking about the upcoming summer, Gunsallus says, “I expect the children of Mott Haven to have a safe summer with a rich experience of community and grace.” For herself, Gunsallus thinks she will be a different person after the summer internship. “I expect to have a new understanding of what poverty looks like and how to serve.”
Gunsallus, a junior majoring in art and nonprofit leadership, is involved in the Independent Student Association, Christian Student Ministries and the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She plans to work in the nonprofit sector in Kansas City after college.
The Pritchard Humanitarian Service Award is provided by and named for John and Mary Pritchard. John and Mary Pritchard founded Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City and for over two decades sought strong and effective ways to interact with “God’s people in need.” The annual award goes to select William Jewell students who commit to engaging with people in need, developing relationships with people different from them in all fundamental aspects and learning about their unique gifts and about what God calls them to do with those gifts.