For The Catholic Messenger
November is National Gratitude Month, a time to celebrate and give thanks. The Newman Catholic Student Center in Iowa City has been doing that this month with its campaign, “Together We Give Thanks.” Students, alumni, staff, board members and financial supporters are participating to let the community know why they are thankful for the Newman Center.
Students attending the fall undergraduate retreat last month wrote their thankful statements on white boards and posed for photos holding the statements. “Some were serious, some were funny, but all were heartfelt,” said Kristie Wert, director of development. “I think it is always a great exercise to think about why we are thankful for the people and places in our lives.”
Wert shared these photos on Newman Center’s social media pages along with thankful statements from the wider Newman Center community. “Each person has something to be thankful for that really reflects their experience here,” Wert said. The Fall Outreach of the Newman Center features the statements along with the center’s annual report and other news.
Alumnus Lanny Kampfe and his wife, Jann, contributed this message of gratitude: “We are thankful that the Newman Center is a blessing to our students. It is a place where they can grow in their faith and friendships and leave as lights for the Lord.”
Alumna Julia Waters, who now serves as a FOCUS Missionary in Ohio, wrote that she is thankful the Newman Center “allowed me to encounter the person of Jesus Christ and taught me what it means to live out a relationship with the Lord and to strive to live holiness alongside faithful friends.”
The Newman Center hired Wert earlier this year after the retirement of longtime development director April Rouner. “Being new to the community, (the campaign) has been a way for me to learn how people connect to the center,” Wert said.
The “Together We Give Thanks” campaign comes ahead of Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement that takes place Nov. 29. The Newman Catholic Student Center has a goal of raising $20,000 on this day to support student programs, activities and to help cover expenses. Donors are asked for a one-time gift of any amount to support the initiative. “We want this to be fun for the community as well as gain support for our mission. We hope everyone will follow us on Facebook, especially on Giving Tuesday,” Wert said. The Giving Tuesday online giving site will accept gifts until midnight Nov. 29. Donors may also support the campaign by dropping off or mailing a gift.
For more information and to access the fall Newman Outreach, visit www.iowacatholic.org, or check out the Newman Catholic Student Center Facebook page at iowacatholic to see the thankful statements and the impact of the Newman Center. Contact Wert by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (319) 337 3106 ext. 119.