A total of 805 students, faculty and staff from Ouachita Baptist University served the community of Arkadelphia during Tiger Serve Day on Saturday, Sept. 23, including 27 volunteers who were involved in hurricane relief efforts in Houston, Texas. A total of 111 Tiger Serve Day projects were completed by 110 volunteer teams.
“Tiger Serve Day is a day of service for Ouachita that focuses on meeting practical and relational needs in the community of Arkadelphia,” said Judy Duvall, associate director of the Elrod Center for Family and Community. “Volunteers are able to do work at a great cost savings to the community and many times are able to help those who could not do work for themselves.”
The first Tiger Serve Day was in 1997 following a devastating tornado. Each semester, teams of six to eight people serve at various projects in the community for three hours. Some projects for this semester included painting a historic caboose, cleaning the Humane Society, cleaning the shores of Lake DeGray and serving at the Horse Rescue Ranch. Other projects completed on Saturday were raking, trimming bushes and trees, mowing and cleaning houses for senior citizens.
“Tiger Serve Day never ceases to amaze me,” said Madi Polk, a senior elementary education major from Wylie, Texas, and chair of the projects team for the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team. “A sense of joy always fills the air on the morning of, no matter how many logistical things need to be taken care of because God’s call to love others is being put into action.”
The past 20 years of Tiger Serve Day have resulted in a total of more than 85,000 volunteer hours completed and countless relationships formed with individuals in the community. This event is designed as an opportunity to show the love of Christ through serving and to help make Arkadelphia a better place.
“The event ends in the afternoon, but the lasting impact of the day itself will continue for many years, as hearts are touched, lasting relationships are formed and prayers are answered,” Polk said. “It is a very humbling and joyful day to be a part of.”
The team of 27 Ouachita volunteers who served in Houston spent the weekend working alongside Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Texas Baptist Men volunteers to provide relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Ouachita team partnered with Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston and Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas, to provide hands-on assistance for those impacted by extensive flooding throughout the Houston area.
“It was a truly eye-opening experience to be allowed to serve the people of Houston and to be invited into their homes during such a hard time,” said Haley Davis, a freshman biomedical sciences major from Cabot, Ark. “It was so inspiring to see how much hope everyone affected had and how they were all in such high spirits.”
“I’m not sure we realized the significance of our mission trip until we turned the van into the first neighborhood and saw the massive destruction left by hurricane Harvey,” noted Dr. Terry DeWitt, professor of kinesiology and leisure studies and one of the team leaders for the Houston trip. “We were blessed to be a part of this huge undertaking of love for the Houston community. I think we could send a team every weekend for the next year and still have work needing to be done.”
For more information about Tiger Serve Day, contact Judy Duvall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5320.
By Sarah Davis // Photos by Dani Droste, Caden Flint and Andy Henderson. Download full header photo.
September 27, 2017