This blog post is part of a series. Read the introduction and Meet Some of Our Hope Forward Students, Why Apply to Hope Forward?, What Connections Are Hope Forward Students Making on Campus? and What Are Some Challenges to Being a Hope Forward Student?

Hope College — Hope College plays host to author and journalist Malcom Gladwell to speak about the Hope Forward project.

Jim: Before they cut me off, how has this experience, if at all, changed your view of investment in generosity, in higher education, in — to use the cliche — paying it forward? Has this experience changed your perceptions in any way from what they might have been? Anyone jump in.

Cora: Hope Forward has changed me because I’m more generous. I feel like I was generous before, but now I have even more of a reason to. And it’s also impacted my family. This scholarship has allowed me to go to college debt free, and my family’s also more generous. We are able to be more charitable with our time and our finances. And because I’m planning to give back to Hope Forward after I graduate, I started my retirement investments, and I’m ready.

Davi: For me, I think how it changed me is it made me see, I guess, we all keep saying how beautiful Hope Forward is. It’s love at its purest form, as well as generosity. And the way it changed for me is: If this has been given to me, why not give it back to someone else? And this beautiful cycle of love, of giving back … every day I wake up, and I’m just reminded and in awe of that. And I just really love that, you know?

Sydney: Yeah, I mean, I’m not sure how to follow that up.

Jim: Do your best.

Sydney: I just think of the donors who just so generously funded our education. And how could you not just be excited to fund the people and generations to come? College is way too expensive, and I think it takes a toll on so many families and dampers a lot of time. And I just think that being able to receive a scholarship through generosity like this is just something that’s really incredible and really innovative, and I’m just so excited to be a part of it.

Steven: I would not have thought that I would be in my freshman year going, ‘I can’t wait to graduate and have a job and give back.’ Like, you don’t usually do that in a freshman year. You’re usually like, ‘I gotta figure my stuff out.’ And I still have to do that, but I am outside focused already. And I think we talk about generosity, and it’s not just financial. We realize that it’s time, it’s listening to people. A lot of us have big goals that we want to achieve, but I think it’s the small day-to-day conversations that we have with people that we just want to be able to give back.…

Jim: That’s excellent. Anna?

Anna: Yeah, when I think of this question, it makes me think about how there’s so many different ways to be generous and no two people are gonna be generous in the same way. And kind of like the people sitting here, some wanna be doctors, some wanna work at nonprofits, others wanna be missionaries in our cohort. So what we can give will look different.

… Nothing is required. We just have signed a covenant to give what we can. And I think that’s the beautiful part of what this program is developing. It’s developing generous hearts at its core.

And it’s not about requirements or paying back a certain number. It’s about living into generosity and being generous with finances and your time and your talents.

Jim: YJ?

YJ: I feel like everybody has tough days. And for me, there’s days where I feel like I don’t belong or … I’m not supposed to be here, and I’m not worthy enough. But having this scholarship, and just having trust and Hope’s investment in me, it makes me go through those hard days and work harder.

And instead of just going to bed early, I work hard. And I feel like in everything I do, just the fact that Hope wants me to be here changes everything.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *