Berea College magazine Editor Abbie DarstDear Berea Alumni and Friends,

Since Berea’s founding, service to the region upon whose foothills Berea is located, has been fundamental to the function of the College and a product of the education with which our students leave. John G. Fee’s vision to educate the impoverished of all races and genders could only be met after meeting the needs of the communities Berea intended to serve. This idea of service and community involvement became the foundation for Berea to grow into the service-minded institution it is today.  

Through programs like Grow Appalachia that serves families in need by ensuring all families have a source of food security, to student-led mentorship programs like Berea Buddies, Bereans everywhere are finding their spirit of service and giving back locally, nationally and internationally in inspiring ways.

In one issue, there is no way to cover the breadth of endeavors Bereans have undertaken to fulfill that call to service. But what you’ll find in this issue is a sampling of the spirit of gratitude, justice, love and commitment that flows from those whom Berea College has touched and entrusted with its legacy and character.

Join staff member Dr. Valeria Watkins on her journey to Ghana and learn how the images she captured and the specific need she saw prompted her to enlist the Berea community in meeting the needs of a Ghanaian church and school, and a school much closer to home.

Get a peek inside the love and comradery of Berea’s campus departments and alumni, as people from all walks of life come together to support the needs of our international and domestic students who don’t get to spend the holidays with their families.

At the heart of this issue, you’ll meet dozens of enthusiastic students who traded in spring break fun-in-the-sun to help rebuild communities, who are passing along the gift of security once given to them through volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and who recognize the need to care for others as a voice for social justice and compassionate service.

And Berea’s spirit of service extends beyond students and staff to the College’s leadership. Meet Trustee Donna Hall who has dedicated her time and philanthropic endeavors to supporting causes from art and education to healthcare and conservation. She is just one of many Berea leaders who set the example of a life committed to service.

So now it’s your turn. How will Berea’s stories ignite your spirit of service? Start small or go big, but everyone can make a difference in the world around them. So, get to serving, and maybe I’ll serve beside you one day.

Abbie Darst signature

Abbie Tanyhill Darst ’03


Abbie Darst '03 is an article writing, husband loving, kid raising, cheer coaching, God serving, busy woman. Whether it's been in sports, law enforcement or higher education, Abbie has dedicated her career to telling stories that speak of mission, passion and the best parts of human experience. She's been telling Berea's amazing stories since 2017.

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