Laura Arens knows firsthand how life-changing it can be to receive a scholarship to attend Kuyper College.
“I felt so grateful when I was awarded my scholarship,” she told students, staff and friends of the College gathered in the Walters Dining Room in late October for Kuyper’s annual Scholarship Dinner. “It confirmed that God wanted me to finish my degree at Kuyper 19 years after I began.”
And when the senior in the social work program lost her home to a fire last winter, that scholarship allowed her to continue her studies.
Tears gathered in her eyes as she told the audience: “Needless to say, finances have been tight. The generous donations from those in this room, as well as those who could not be present tonight, truly answer the prayers of students like me who aren’t quite sure where their funding is coming from.”
A beautiful, unseasonably warm fall night was the perfect setting for the annual event, which gives the Kuyper community the opportunity to thank the kind individuals who help make it possible for many students to attend.
It is a time for scholarship recipients and donors, as well as Kuyper staff and board members, to share both a delicious meal and stories of God at work through Kuyper scholarships.
Dr. Patricia Harris, President of Kuyper College, was the first to welcome and thank attendees.
“To the donors and family members of these named scholarships, I want to thank you for your generosity and the opportunities you provide by serving our students so well that they, in turn, can be here as students and can look towards a life of service to God and neighbor. We really do appreciate you, and we’re so glad you’re here tonight,” she said with a smile.
Jimena Soto-Lara is another student for whom a scholarship has helped make a Kuyper education possible.
Growing up on the south side of Grand Rapids, she saw firsthand the lack of enrichment options for children in her neighborhood, and she said she believes that providing such opportunities is an important part of helping neighborhoods like hers thrive.
“I’m only in my first year of the Business Leadership program but, after I graduate, I hope to meet this need by working with a nonprofit organization like the Hispanic community center in my neighborhood,” she said.
After President Harris’ address and plenty of good conversation over dinner, attendees heard a financial update from Vice President for Advancement Ken Capisciolto before students took to the microphone to share their stories.
Threaded throughout the night’s events was a theme of God’s providence—callings able to be pursued and needs met at just the right time—through the generous donations of those gathered in the room.
Dr. Tim Howerzyl, assistant professor of theological studies and Graduate Program director, closed the evening with an appropriate prayer: “Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to partner together and be part of the story you are unfolding for your glory, that we might be part of your Kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven.”