Immersed in Hope: Nashville, Tennessee 

Hope College Spring Break Immersion Trips change students’ perspectives. This year’s trip to Nashville changed mine. Hope College Campus Ministries offers these opportunities for students to travel domestically and internationally. The goal of the short-term service-learning experience is to fully immerse students in an environment, focusing on living out our Christian faith of loving God and loving others. 

“We are not sent to save the world but to serve the world in the name of the God who saves” Hope College Campus Ministries 

Nineteen students and leaders spent the week working with City Service Mission (CSM) — a program that provides short-term Christian mission experiences in urban settings. CSM allowed us to connect with several different nonprofit organizations in the city center. The non-profits ranged from Day Shelters for people experiencing homelessness, to Urban Farming Centers dedicated to helping those dealing with food insecurity, to environmental projects. After my time in Nashville, I reflected on the pillars of Hope Forward: Community, Access and Generosity, and how they were deeply woven into our experience. 


People Loving Nashville (PLN), is an organization focused on building community and providing people with basic resources. Every Monday night for the past fifteen years, PLN has hosted a block-party-style event providing services to people experiencing homelessness. Everyone at the event gets to participate in this truly beautiful community. The night that we were there the resources provided included popup showers, meals, coffee and even pet care for those who have animal companions. 

Our group’s role was community engagement. I had an amazing time getting to know others and just hearing people’s stories. There I saw barriers being broken between those who are experiencing homelessness and the volunteers. There were no “us and them” categories, just people having conversations and enjoying each other’s company. Everyone was looking after one another. What was really interesting was seeing people who have been going to PLN for a while and the familial atmosphere that existed in people’s interactions. I walked away wondering what my own community would be like if we all looked after one another. PLN gave me a little taste of what that could look like. No more categories of who belonged and who didn’t. Simply, everyone belonged in this community. It was so beautiful. 


Access breaks down barriers. We visited areas abundant with opportunity, and others, negatively impacted by gentrification. One of the days we volunteered with Project Cure, a non-profit that delivers medical supplies and equipment to developing countries. We worked in their warehouse organizing boxed-up medical supplies to be shipped around the world. One shipment that day was sent to Gaza. I think it is surreal. The supplies we assembled will be sent to places seemingly unreachable. 

This experience made me more aware of my privileges. It reminded me, not everyone has the same level of access I do, and how my access to resources can be a barrier to access for others. Our specific backgrounds are determined by the societal systems we live under. The systems of power and oppression we saw alive in Nashville are the same ones I have seen throughout my life. Homelessness is a huge epidemic in not just Nashville, but the United States as a whole. Without access to affordable housing or a community having the resources to help, people can be left behind. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people struggle when there is almost no way of receiving aid. My experiences working with nonprofits, like Project Cure, remind me that problems aren’t going to fix themselves. We need to work together to dismantle the barriers that leave people behind. 


Generosity is contagious. I give because I receive blessings from others. In Nashville, we encountered radical hospitality. We learned from the non-profit workers that respect was something that should be generously given. The workers welcomed every individual knowing they are full of dignity. In their world, no one is below or above. This radical hospitality was clearly presented in every non-profit worker we met. I discovered that, by just being curious and hearing people’s stories, I saw them more fully. Empathy is what fuels generosity and in turn, generosity fuels even more generosity. Start asking yourself, “How can I grow in empathy?” Empathy will give you the capacity to give. I know it’s true, these non-profit workers and regular volunteers are living examples. 

Returning to Hope 

Ironically, as both a social work major and Hope Forward student, I grew in optimism about the difference we can make. Some problems are deeply rooted in the fabric of our society. While the problems we face are complex, positive change is still possible. We saw it with our own eyes! Encountering a problem as close to the ground as possible builds understanding. By asking yourself and your community how to bring hope to it, we discover a beautiful community that we might never have imagined, and the new friends we meet along the way help us grow in hope.

Growing in Generosity

Generosity and giving are anything but boring for Hope Forward students.

Some hyperextended elbows, performed 32 fouettés (famous Swan Lake ballet move), did cartwheels, solved a Rubix cube puzzle while on a balance board, impersonated zombie sounds from Minecraft and shared many other unique talents all in the name of generosity.

Hope Forward program juniors organized the talent show as a motivator to gather all the Hope Forward students on Day of Giving — Hope College’s biggest giving event of the year — and encourage each of them to give to what they love on campus.

And, it worked! Almost three-quarters of Hope Forward students made a donation on Day of Giving compared to 27% of the cohort who gave at the same time last year. In comparison, 2% of students who are not part of the Hope Forward program made a gift on Day of Giving.

What excites Hope Forward Program Director Nicole Dunteman most is that students are growing in their understanding of generosity, a pillar of the Hope Forward program. She’s thrilled to see them take personal steps to be generous in many areas of their lives, which includes much more than financial giving, she said. Seeing the juniors step up and take leadership also has been heartwarming, she added.

Many students who made gifts on Day of Giving said they are eager to start giving now instead of waiting until they get a job when they graduate.

“I gave because giving is a muscle and we need to strengthen those muscles for when we graduate,” said Katie, a freshman nursing student. “When we graduate, we will be giving back so it’s important to give now.”

All Hope Forward students sign a covenant with Hope College establishing a life-long relationship with the campus community and making a commitment to give to Hope yearly after graduation at any amount they choose. Already, students are taking this responsibility seriously.

“Hope Forward is a great idea. It’s giving hope to students by paying for their full tuition,” said Yessica. “I’m giving to Hope College so other people can have the same opportunity as we’re having.”

The elementary education major from Honduras said she wished she could give to all the departments at Hope because of the deep impact they’ve had on her.

“I’ve had to overcome a lot of challenges, like culture shock and talking in English all the time,” Yessica explained. “All the departments at Hope have been so supportive. I would never have had this opportunity in Honduras.”

Student organizers made a friendly competition out giving by dividing the Hope Forward cohort into six geographical regions to see who would be the most generous. Out of the six groups made up of students from the Eastern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere, Southern U.S., Northeastern U.S., Western U.S. and the Midwest, those from the Northeast won with 87% of the students making a donation.

“I don’t have a lot to give, but knowing someone matched every student’s gift really motivated me. I knew my small gift would turn into much more,” Katie said.

On Day of Giving, the Matick family committed to matching every student gift, not just those in the Hope Forward program, with an additional $80 gift to the Hope Fund.

“Giving something small can have a lot of meaning,”
said Monty, a junior. “Even $1 can be powerful if that’s what each of us gives. It shows we believe in what we are a part of.”

Monty, a social work and psychology double major, said that she would have been forced to choose a different career path if she had student loans to repay because social workers earn a lower wage than many other careers. She can follow her passion because of Hope Forward’s gifted tuition. She wants future students to be able to follow their passions, too, without being held back by debt.

Student Art Sparks Hope and Dreams

In order to do the art project, students revisit the original essay they wrote during the Hope Forward application process and consider what their past means for their present and future. The following questions guide reflection:

Why did you apply to Hope Forward? Why did you apply to Hope College?
What has changed since last year? What has remained the same? How have you grown? Take some time to dream about your future self. What three words do you want your life to reflect? Using these reflections, students select a plant with a meaning that encompasses an identified aspect of themselves. As a guide, they explore the traditional meanings of plants within art history and across cultures. From there, students sketch their plant, carve a block, print their plant, and develop an artist’s statement.

Each January, the freshmen Hope Forward students have a cohort retreat to develop a cohort community covenant, spend time in individual reflection and goal setting, and create block prints as a reflective exercise to consider their own strengths, growth and hope for future impact.

The following are a few of the prints and accompanying artists statements from the 2027 Cohort:

Fireweed is a plant that grows in Alaska in the summer; it springs up in areas that wildfires have swept through. Fireweed symbolizes persistence, peace, growth, community, beauty in areas of devastation, and healing.

Moving forward, these are qualities that I hope to demonstrate and share in my life. Ultimately, fireweed is a symbol of hope that can blossom even in situations that seem unredeemable. It is also a representation of my home state.

Hope springs up, always.

I decided to do a bouquet of herbs. I did this because I love to cook and add flavoring to my food. And, I want to be a nurse, so I chose to draw 3 healing herbs:

1) Echinacea—boosts the immune system and aids in healing. It is a symbol of strength, too.

2) Lemon balm—symbol for wisdom and calm.

3) Ashwagandha—reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes brain health. Its root word also means horse and stands for power.

The snapdragon represents protection from evil. My whole life, I had been told that “that’s the way the world works” when I asked why there was so much hurt in the world. I strive to grow to be a world challenger. I want to bring up the uncomfortable conversation that might cause controversy. I chose to print two flowers to represent the duality that comes with going against the flow of the world. The side of fear and the side of thrill for change.

Gladiolus symbolizes strength of character, faithfulness and remembrance. The past few years have been really hard on me, and this flower reminds me of the strength I have and how I’m able to overcome anything with my faith in God. This flower also reminds me of my parents and I really want to become like them as I grow older.

I chose to print a dahlia flower because of the significance: grace under pressure. Grace, especially in high pressure situations, is imperative to employ. Choosing grace over stress is a value I hold dear to my heart and has been instilled in me by my parents. Grace is also a word that reminds me to be resilient and be empowered by strength and give my worries to the Lord. Change is inevitable in life and a factor that is challenging for me to cope with. However, when choosing grace, all will be well and still in the light of the Lord.

The blue iris represents purity, wisdom, faith and hope. Those are all values I strive to embody in my everyday life. I love knowledge and the pursuit of it. I try to be the most pure version of myself and to be vulnerable. I try to provide hope even in the worst situations.

These are just six prints representing a collection of 25 others from this cohort. To visually indicate students’ commitment to their Hope Forward learning community, they bring their carvings together to create a collaborative piece at the end of the retreat—allowing them to envision themselves among a grander ecosystem to which they belong and from which they give and receive.

If you’re interested in learning more about this project or seeing other prints, feel free to email Hope Forward Program Coordinator Erin Drews:

Inspired by “Tuesdays with Morrie”

Whenever I think about Hope Forward, I am reminded of Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.
The popular book was turned into a play. In the fall of my freshman year at Hope, I was given the opportunity to see it in the theater as a part of the Hope Forward program, and man did I sob through most of it.

It is a story about what Albom learns from his former professor Morrie, who is ill. The whole story revolves around their Tuesday meetings where Morrie talks about giving and how giving makes him feel like he is living. Morrie has this unreasonable attitude throughout the entirety of the story even though he knows that he is dying.

Morrie was willing to generously give his limited time and energy to care more about others than himself, even though he had every right to be self-focused. People would come and visit Morrie because they wanted to comfort him, but they were the ones who would leave feeling encouraged and heard.

Morrie’s generosity reminds me of Hope Forward.

The donors who generously give to this amazing program play the role of Morrie. They are giving so that each of us can pursue our individual passions to bring hope to the world—without having to worry about paying off college debt. They are loving us well by giving us the opportunity to bring hope to other students down the line who we will eventually give to so they can be part of the program. These donors have a beautiful sense of giving that will impact future generations.

What I love about impact is that it stays with a person everywhere they go and touches whomever they come in contact with. Donors are having a tremendous impact on each one of us through their generosity; then, we get to take it and spread it along to the world – just like Morrie did.

Those who are given much are expected to do much with it. The Hope Forward culture is centered around giving—it starts with someone giving to us. Giving back is not required. It’s simply our natural response from grateful hearts.

This is truly an amazing program, and I can’t wait to see how it changes the future!

The Gift of Presence

What is presence? I wouldn’t know because I have always evaded the feeling. Since I was a child, I was on the move–waking up early or dragging my sister out the door so we wouldn’t be “late” to school. I didn’t like slowing down because life was about busyness and never losing a moment. When I stopped to feel the gravity of life in real-time, I panicked at the vast emptiness of the moment and all the things that would never get done because I had paused. Somehow, there was never enough time, and it felt like losing again and again.

Loss itself was an acquaintance I knew well. After living in a beautiful and communal hillside community in Northern India, I was whisked back to the fast-paced and distracted American life. Was I supposed to hurl myself into the productivity deep end to fit in here? Supposedly, and I did. I hopped onto the conveyor belt of busyness while trying to love the new school community I was a part of. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel distracted while doing it. I was looking ahead to the future, excited for all the possibilities ahead, while also living in deep anguish, fearful of losing all the people I had grown to love. All of senior year was clouded with looming dread and pre-sadness for the ending, and all of freshman year of college was feeling the grief of losing it. I was angry. Time was the enemy, always running ahead while I desperately tried to catch up. However, I discovered that the time I was chasing no longer existed.

During my first year at Hope, I lived in a dream world–an ideal future where I would teach at my high school. I truly loved education, but in this situation, I was hopeful for a taste of my fading past. With that in mind, I ran to the education department to make a plan for the next four years and the rest of my life. I was content because everything fit, like Tetris blocks falling perfectly into place, convincing me everything was fine. Yet, even with all the plans, I was bitter about my life, yearning to grasp the dying memory of high school. I wanted something I could never have but failed to realize that.

However, over time, my education plan weighed on me. I felt restricted, unhappy, and torn between what I needed in the present and what I loved before. I panicked, declared something else, and figured out how to graduate early and get out of college as fast as possible. I was scared of being at Hope without education as my future, without my friends in the grade above me, and worst of all, without a plan. I dreaded the ending like I had many times before, rather than living my life.

During those uncertain times, my communities re-grounded me. In the past, my teachers helped me through difficult times, and in college, the Hope Forward community reminded me why I was here. During the application process, I was considered for Hope Forward because people believed in me, not my test scores or extracurriculars, but rather, my heart and soul. Through their faith and belief that I could help give to the program, I was given a gift of education, something that fed my purpose more than anything. Furthermore, the first time I met the people in my cohort, I was deeply inspired by their purpose, love, and care for their communities. I wanted to live with that kind of stewardship for those around me in the ways that they did. Most of all, I was learning that giving was not only monetary; it also came through our attention, love, and time. Those small gifts were perhaps the greatest ones of all.

Hope Forward was so generous and loving, but why was I afraid to be present in this place? Why did I want to leave so badly? I wondered the same thing, but perhaps it was all the previous losses and leaving that made me afraid of loving this one. I thought that if I loved this community too much, I would love the other one less, or even worse, I would only lose this one too. Over the past semester, I was reminded that it was okay to love good and beautiful things and that life can contain many chapters instead of one. But it was when I watched my Hope Forward friend give her Pechca Kucha on the meaning of home that I knew I could be present in college. She posed the question, “What is home?” when our understanding of home is muddled, complicated, or even lost. She explained that maybe home existed in these physical places, but also, within ourselves everywhere we go. We were “home bearers,” and so were the people around us.

The past I was chasing were still memories I carried, beautiful and important as ever, but so were the moments in the present and the ones ahead. To love the present was not to love the past less; it was to refocus the love on something tangible and life-giving. I was learning to trust that whatever future lay beyond would unfold into something wonderful. Now was the time to live, and give to the people who gave that time to me.

I cannot say that my old mentality has been eradicated; change comes in small increments as most change does. What I can say is that I am learning to embrace time as something precious and beautiful, rather than something to lose. Receiving the gift of education is not about seizing a degree; it’s about being present for the community I am part of building. It’s about learning that there will be time and love in the places that give. I learn this more every day.

Hope Parents’ Gift will Change Lives

Nancy Estabrook walked away from a gathering in Carmel, Ind., where President Matthew Scogin talked about Hope Forward, inspired that she could be a part of changing students’ lives.

She and her husband, Neil, decided soon after the meeting for friends, parents and alumni of Hope College that they wanted to give to support Hope Forward and sent a check without delay.

“This could really change the lives of some students,” said Nancy. “We believe in giving to causes like that.”

The Estabrooks, whose daughter Jessica is a senior at Hope, were most attracted to the Christian focus of Hope Forward, a financial model where students receive gifted tuition paid for by generous donors and agree to pay it forward after they graduate so other students will have the same opportunity.

“This is not a have to pay this back back but give back as you can,” explained Nancy. “It’s a covenant. I love that word. Hope Forward embodies a lot of the Christian values and mission Hope has. I think it can work. I really do.”

Shortly after being appointed to his post five years ago, President Scogin launched Hope Forward to solve the problem of overwhelming student debt. The Estabrooks originally learned about the program through newsletters and emails from Hope. What excited them most, however, was how President Scogin described the biblical basis for Hope Forward.

“He talked about Jesus coming with an upside down economy,” said Nancy. “The purpose of money is not to get as much as you can and keep it for yourself. The purpose of money is to use it for others and give it away.”

Hope Forward’s reliance on student gratitude for the tremendous gift of someone paying for their tuition and their integrity to give back is one of the main reasons the Estabrooks think the model will work.

“These students at Hope are special. We’ve watched Jessica and the students at the college as a whole interact with each other,” said Nancy, who has been on campus and around the Holland area many times to watch her daughter compete on Hope’s swim team. “We’ve been to chapel a couple of times and were blown away by how many students were there, even though it’s not required. That’s one of the things that made us realize what a special place Hope is.”

“Students would take that covenant/commitment and make good on it,” she said, referring to her belief that students would be motivated by gratitude and give back to Hope when they graduate.

Nancy emphasized that she sees Hope’s campus as a generous community filled with people who care about each other, especially during the pandemic.

“Hope put students first and kept saying, ‘We want you here,’” Nancy said. “They put the responsibility on the students: Here’s what you need to do to be on campus. They relied on students to do the right thing. And, they did.”

According to the Estabrooks, this mindset will help make Hope Forward successful. Even in their optimism, they freely admit that making it work will have challenges. They realize that money has to come from somewhere to get Hope Forward started—from people like them who believe it will work.

“This is a way to show your faith, that you believe in these students and give to them so that they can pay it forward,” said Nancy.

That’s just what their family is doing.

The Powerful Habit of Lifelong Generosity

Imagine what could happen if you committed to taking 20 minutes out of your busy life three times a week to quiet your mind and reflect on how you could be generous and give to others.

This is the challenge that alumnus Joe Johnson ’98, partner with DeLong & Brower Financial Services, issued to Hope Forward juniors recently as part of their Financial Foundations series. In this co-curricular series, students focused on topics such as budgeting, managing debt, investing and retirement, and financial planning.

“You can’t just say, ‘I want to be a generous person.’ You have to be intentional,” Joe, parent of Hope nursing major Brooklyn, told the students.

Joe handed the students a list of 30 small actions they could take that would easily fit in their daily routine. He asked them to choose three to five that most resonated with them. When practiced over time, Joe told the students, these acts will build the powerful habit of lifelong generosity.

“Generosity is more than giving money,” Joe explained. “Kindness is an act of generosity; listening, putting away the tech and focusing on what’s important to another person; finding out the needs of others and of the community—there are so many ways to be generous and invest in people.”

Being generous is also good for you. Joe pointed to studies that show generous people have increased happiness, improved mental health, lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.

“People can get a ‘helper’s high’—a wonderful feeling when endorphins are released, which can combat depression,” he said.

Generosity is one of the three pillars of Hope Forward, a funding model where students receive their tuition paid for by donors and agree to pay it forward at any amount they choose after graduation so other students can have the same opportunity. Hope’s goal is for all students to have their tuition covered. For now, groups of about 40 Hope Forward students are being added each academic year while long-term funding is raised to cover everyone.

Access and community are the other pillars of Hope Forward. Program Director Nicole Dunteman said co-curricular programming, which all Hope Forward students participate in outside of their regular classes, is designed to help students lead lives of impact rooted in generosity and gratitude. This idea is what excites Joe Johnson most about the program.

“What they are doing with students—giving them a foundational guide to life which centers around leadership and generosity—I was blown away when I found out this part of the program existed,” Joe said. “This is four years of working with students to be good human beings. They are teaching kids to be good stewards. This is seldom taught in high school and college.”

“That’s what students will take away more so than what they learn in the classroom,” Joe added.

He coached students to see their future careers as a “platform for ministry, witness, and generosity” not just a means to pay the bills. When you love and embrace your work, using it as a means to develop your God-given gifts, it has a ripple effect in impacting the lives of others, Joe said.

Ultimately, that’s what Hope Forward is all about.

Seed of Faith, Trials of Hope, Blossoming Fruits

“This is torture!” was my immediate thought each time a gust of wind blew against me, chilling me to the bone. Despite wearing a scarf and winter gloves, the tip of my nose would turn a brilliant pinkish red, and my fingertips would gradually grow numb. The only “warm” parts of my body were my feet, snuggled cozily in thick snow boots. Overall, the biting cold was just too much for me. Coming from a country with a tropical climate, I was not accustomed to the chilly weather in Michigan. During my first few weeks of college, I dressed in multiple layers of clothing on top of thermal undergarments and a winter coat. I was determined to stay as warm as possible, even if it meant taking on the appearance of a puffball mushroom. As the weeks passed and the weather grew blisteringly cold, I was increasingly anxious to acquire a long winter coat because the ones that I owned were only up to my waist. Unbeknownst to me, God had just the perfect coat in store for me.

Throughout the past few weeks, I spent most of my leisure time scouring the internet for long jackets. On several of those occasions, I was tempted to make impulsive purchases because I was desperate to protect myself from the bitter cold. However, just as I was ready to click the “confirm purchase” button, I felt compelled to exit the shopping cart and review the product for the following day. During my devotion the next morning, God spoke to my anxiety and worry. The devotional for that day talked about counting my blessings rather than my burdens, and the scripture verse was taken from James 1:2–4. Feeling encouraged and assured, I decided not to make any purchases and to fully trust that God would provide in His time. On Friday, November 17, I received an email from Hope’s Center for Global Engagement with the subject line, “Are you in need of a warm coat for the winter?” The college was blessing students who were in need of a good winter coat to counter the freezing weather. Overjoyed at the news, I quickly responded to the email and was promptly granted a date and time for the coat pick-up. A delightful surprise awaited me!

Fast forward: the day to receive my coat arrived! I excitedly rushed over to the Bultman Student Center to meet up with Andrew Haggerty, the assistant director of Student Life, who then directed me to the inventory to pick out a coat of my choice. On the way, he casually mentioned that aside from the coats, there were also pairs of winter gloves that I could choose from and claim for my own. Upon hearing that, I almost burst with joy.

After Andrew left to meet with other students who had also signed up, I found myself gazing blankly at the racks and boxes of clothing, completely overwhelmed with awe and wonder at God’s provision.

There were an assortment of coats, ranging from waist-high to below-knee, that were of fine quality. Additionally, the gloves were cold-resistant, which was what I needed since mine were not suitable for winter. In His perfect timing and way, God heard more than what I prayed for, answered more than what I asked for, and delivered more than I could have anticipated. Through the seed of faith (believing that God will provide) combined with trials of hope (staying hopeful amid the cold), my provision from Him blossomed in ways that were unexpected.

Encouraged to Give

When Hope adjunct professor Susanna Lankheet read in this Hope Forward Blog about retired Professor Bill Moreau and how he can’t seem to retire from giving – she launched into a special kind of Hope Forward giving all her own. The two go way back to high school when Bill Moreau was her English teacher. That’s only the beginning of a touching story about how she ended up following in his footsteps, right up to his former office in Lubbers 312.

Thank you for the feature on Mr. Moreau! He is the reason I am a teacher today—I am living proof that kindness matters.

Bill was my high school English teacher who encouraged us to write, think as we created words on a page, and explore meaning in literature.

He was also funny and charming! No doubt many of my classmates remember him for his sense of humor that won over more than a few grumpy teenagers. I remember him clearly: standing in the halls of Hamilton High greeting us first thing in the morning, present and showing care.

One day an opportunity to write for the Holland Sentinel rolled around for a new student section in the paper. Mr. Moreau asked my friend and me if we were interested, and I said yes.

I said yes to creativity, to taking a chance, to seeing the world in a slightly larger context than from my comfortable perch in Grafschaap, Michigan.

My friends were featured in the Sentinel articles I wrote. We wanted to be artists and individuals—late 90s versions of punk rockers. We hung out at the Park Theatre for alternative night on Saturdays, dancing to the Cure. They had things to say and I wrote about their style. Later, those articles garnered a journalism scholarship to Western Michigan University. I wrote decently because I read a lot, but also because I had an editor. I had Mr. Moreau. I had a person who cared about my mental and emotional mechanics, someone who saw potential in me.

Fast forward: I earned a degree in English after five luxury years on campus, continued to explore spiritual paths, and on graduation began teaching at a community college.

The courses I taught were dual-enrollment so that meant I was in a high school. It felt familiar but more satisfying than my own Hamilton High days. I was the one greeting students, reading over their essays, and asking about their day. I was Mr. Moreau?!

Not quite yet. Mr. Moreau did other things to give back because that is his nature. He’s one of the most humble and approachable people I’ve ever met. Whatever other good stuff he did and does is never shouted to the rooftops.

As a grad student pursuing English, my career horizons expanded, and I accepted a job at Hope teaching gifted middle schoolers for an academic year. Guess who I saw on campus? Guess who was kind, down-to-earth, and walked everywhere? That’s right.

I graduated again, became more deeply invested in Christianity, jumped a few personal hurdles, and was hired as an adjunct professor at Hope teaching Expository Writing. The same course that Mr. Moreau taught! It gets better: because Hope is a generous and thoughtful place, adjuncts are bequeathed offices. I was assigned Lubbers 312.

It brings tears to my eyes thinking about how momentously full circle this is—my office had been Mr. Moreau’s.

I saw him not too long ago delivering campus mail, walking, of course. And I could barely speak as I realized again and again that faith is real, kindness matters, and it’s so amazing.

Some thirty years after high school I continue to be encouraged by Mr. Moreau. He gives his earnings to Hope Forward? Well, I will as well.

Of course Bill can’t be matched in generousness, so the most-kindhearted title will always be his.

A Contagious Gift

To celebrate the most generous day of the year, our students want to share with you what they would want to say to the people who have made their Hope College education possible.

We currently have 80 students on our campus receiving the gift of a fully funded education because of generous people like you (and like Dr. Bill Moreau and his wife who shared their story in our previous post). In turn, these students have committed to generous, annual giving back to Hope after they graduate so future students can have the same opportunity. This beautiful cycle of giving is what we call Hope Forward, and what we one day want for every student at Hope College.

While I could go on and on about the depth and breadth of impact Hope Forward is having on our students, today I’ll stick to sharing about the impact it’s having on their hearts and minds. In a world that makes selfishness easy, I see our students ready to live a life of giving rooted in gratitude and abundance because of the gift they have received.

If students could meet our donors, here are some things they would want to say…

Thank you for this gift that goes on to be a gift for many and many generations. Your gift is a catalyst of Hope. Because you gave, I will also give. I am forever grateful and blessed.

Your gift is and will impact far more than just me.

You are a part of changing the world through Hope, and we couldn’t thank you enough.

You are an inspiration to be generous.

I am so grateful for you! I get to study to be a nurse and help others through challenging times because of your generosity. What an incredible gift and blessing! Thank you!

Thank you for your generous and selfless giving that enabled me to be where I am today. Thank you for showing me Christ’s love in action.

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to receive something so valuable that I will carry with me forever.

Thank you for your generous donation. Thank you for giving me a chance to do something great with my life.

Thank you so much for this great gift! You have no idea how much your generosity means to not just me but my family, community and country. God bless your heart!

Thank you for trusting me to steward well what you give me.

I cannot wait to do what you have done for me for other people!

Want to join in on the contagious gift of generosity and gratitude this GivingTuesday? Visit to make your gift.

With full hearts, our students are so grateful!