Wayland teams give back on Degree of Difference Day 

October 1, 2011

PLAINVIEW – More than 100 volunteers gathered Saturday morning to take part in Wayland Baptist University’s sixth annual Degree of Difference Day. Each year students, faculty, staff and administrators at Wayland Baptist University volunteer for service projects designed to make a difference in Plainview.

This year, 15 teams tackled various projects around Plainview ranging from sweeping the porch at Faith in Sharing House to helping set up the stage for the Go-Tell Crusade that will be held at Greg Sherwood Memorial Bulldog Stadium. Groups washed cars for Special Olympics, baked cookies for Meals on Wheels,  cleaned up around the softball fields at the city park, picked up trash at the cemetery and more. One student even involved his church youth group, signing to help clean kennels at the Human Society.

“We needed some projects where we can see that life is more about giving than receiving,” said Jay R. Dunn, a junior religion major from Houston. Dunn serves as the youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Hale Center. “I’m wanting them to see what it is like to put the Gospel in action, sacrificial love, giving of their time to help others.”

While the goal of the day is to help make the community a better place, many of those involved learn personal lessons as well. Several of those lessons learned came from the students working alongside Special Olympians.

“I got to talk with one athlete in particular,” said Libby Saultz, a junior from Amarillo. “The things he shared with me made me think about how different actions affect people.”

Other students were surprised by the impact they can make simply by volunteering to clean up a city park. Several of them were upset by how much trash accumulates in simply through the carelessness of people. And some students even learned a new skill. Those working at the Plainview Church of God learned how to sew as they made puppets for the church’s Gospel outreach to children.

“I had never used a sewing machine before, so I was discouraged when my product didn’t look awesome,” said Alexis Walter, an education major from Albuquerque. “But we were reminded that the kids don’t care what the puppets look like. They are still going to hear Jesus through them.”

Tricia Garza, the certification officer for the School of Education, summarized the day.

“It’s always good to do God’s work,” she said. “But it’s even better when He puts us where He wants us to be.”