Kuyper College junior Thiara Herrera-Leiva grew up in Santiago, Chile, the Chilean capital and its largest city with a population of some seven million people.
There, she said, she never imagined that she could someday go to college for ministry leadership and learn about the Bible. So, when she first heard about Kuyper College, and especially when she learned about working on campus to pay for her tuition (now known as KuyperWorks), it seemed like the perfect fit.
Today, she is not only a ministry leadership student, but she also recently had the opportunity to travel to Florida to participate in a Professional Writing & Design Workshop presented by Reclaim Today (part of Our Daily Bread Ministries) and the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
The opportunity was available to college students from the 160 ABHE institutions in the U.S. and Canada, and students were selected based on their aptitude for professional writing or design, their career goals and their spiritual leadership on their home campuses. Only 30 students were selected.
Thiara first heard about the opportunity during a team meeting as part of her work on the Kuyper Spiritual Life team.
“I was really excited,” she said. “I’ve followed the work and posts of Reclaim Today prior to the conference even being in my radar, and so I was excited to learn and work with them creating content.”
Selected to the writing track, Thiara had the chance to write Scripture meditations and prayers.
“We first got introduced to the creative process of writing a Scripture meditation and prayer,” she said. “The beginning really was mostly talking about what are the needs we see in our generation since the content is aimed for young adults in their 20s and 30s. Then we would go into Scripture and after that we did have a few handouts and examples from Reclaim Today to guide us.”
Thiara added that Brenna Holsclaw, the Reclaim Today content manager, was a great resource for her and her fellow student-writers.
“She was there at all times to chat, bounce ideas back and forth and guide us,” she said. “But she also gave us a lot of creative freedom.”
Thiara also noted some of the challenges of creating content for a scrolling audience.
“The prayers we were writing were for people who sometimes are just scrolling down on Instagram and have a minute or two before they keep scrolling and so the character counting and the need for the audience to see themselves in the prayers is crucial,” she noted.
Back on campus, Thiara is pondering continued study after her Kuyper graduation next year, perhaps going to seminary or perhaps a masters in immigration and refugee social work.
As she reflects on her Kuyper journey thus far, she said it is everything she imagined it would be.
She’s been able to learn about the Bible and ministry leadership thanks to great professors and rigorous classroom experiences. And as a work study student, she has served as kitchen staff and in facilities, and she has been a student success coach and part of the Spiritual Life student staff.
“Because of KuyperWorks, I’m able to cut back quite a bit of the portion of tuition that is left for me to pay after aid has been applied,” she said.
She added with a smile: “And I get to tell my mom to not worry, I’ve got this.”
Photo ID: Thiara and her fellow Reclaim Today students in Orlando, Florida (Thiara is in the second row in the bright pink suit)