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Kathryn Luke rep­re­sents her new GOAL program at the source. Courtesy | Kathryn Luke

Junior Kathryn Luke started a new GOAL program called Widows Con­necting Point, serving the widows of Hillsdale County by con­necting them to stu­dents on campus, as well as one another. 

“Imagine this sce­nario,” Asso­ciate Dean of Men, Jeffery “Chief” Rogers, who first noticed the need for the program in the com­munity, said. 

“You have two people that are in love with each other, they’ve been married for 55 years, and the husband dies,” he said. “What do you think the widow is going to do? She’s going to be hurt. She may never move his pic­tures, just fading into the shadows of society.”

Rogers said after the dev­as­tating loss of her husband, a widow needs com­munity to thrive.

“Imagine all these young people love on her, hear her story, val­idate her, pray for her, encourage her, and allow her to pour her sorrows into helping another widow who’s been through what she’s been through,” he said.

The Widows Con­necting Point GOAL program aims to serve widows by pro­viding them with love, support, and community.

“Widows often become iso­lated espe­cially when they stop getting invited to couple get-togethers,” Luke said.

Junior Lewis Degoffau explained why he signed up to volunteer.

“Widows will be hurting, in a lot of pain, and maybe have a crisis in their faith,” Degoffau, a vol­unteer in the new program, said. “If we can be there for them in that time, that could provide the nec­essary support for them to con­tinue believing.”

When the program com­mences, two stu­dents will be paired with a widow. Stu­dents will visit her home or meet with her at another arranged location once a week for one hour.

“It’s not much more than a con­ver­sation,” Luke said.

The program will also hold monthly gath­erings to help the women build rela­tion­ships with each other. 

“In four years, the stu­dents will leave,” Luke said. “But if the widows can become friends and find com­munity with each other, that will be really powerful. 

Luke said that helping widows build rela­tion­ships with each other is the most important aspect of the program. 

“Women who lost their hus­bands many years ago under­stand the pain and can care for newer widows who have only recently lost their hus­bands,” she said.

The program needs more stu­dents with only 18 vol­un­teers for 60 widows.

“The reason I accepted the invi­tation to join the program was because of the com­mands in Scripture to love and care for orphans and widows,” Degoffau said. “Specif­i­cally, those two groups are men­tioned a lot and widows are ones that we often forget about.”

Luke said the busyness of college life and a lack of trans­portation often deter stu­dents from vol­un­teering. However, she said the program is very flexible, assigning stu­dents to widows based on their schedules and pro­viding trans­portation arrangements.

“It’s really nice to get off campus and an added benefit of the program is the inter­gen­er­a­tional rela­tion­ships. We get stuck in our little 18-to-22-year-old bubble,” Luke said. “So, it’s refreshing to go and talk to somebody who has lived through so much more than you have. They’re con­cerned about dif­ferent things than you are. It changes your perspective.”