During Spring Break 2003, Tawny participated with her InterVarsity chapter at a day camp in St. Louis, teaching children Math, Science, Social Studies, and about the love of God. Those six days changed her life. Tawny cried as she confessed about the struggle of going home. Her world had been turned upside-down, and she was afraid that she would no longer fit in Fort Dodge after her experiences in St. Louis.
Back at Iowa Central Community College, as Tawny thought about how she could use her experiences to influence her community that summer, she talked to Kathy Sievers, Campus staff at Iowa Central Community College. Tawny felt that because she went to a two-year college, she wasn’t a ‘regular student.’ Kathy suggested that Tawny return to St. Louis for the summer to continue sharing the gospel of Christ through serving the community.
So, Tawny joined 24 other interns: Asians, Africans, African-Americans, Texans, Ivy League coeds, pre-meds, architects, musicians, and teachers from colleges and universities across the country for the summer. Tawny was afraid she was in over her head, but she was confident about where God wanted her to be. Tawny was selected to be a member of a teaching team consisting of 13 participants to lead H.E.L.P., Hamilton (Heights) Enrichment and Learning Program, the summer day camp for 50 inner city children from one of the poorest zip codes in America.
Tawny went to St. Louis to help make a difference and she did. The children fell in love with her— her faithfulness, hugs, laughter, and love. Tawny discovered that God could use her gifts of teaching and the children could learn through her gifts. Her service to the children encouraged other people to volunteer in their community.
When Tawny returned home again to Fort Dodge, she realized that God’s plan for her was bigger than her own dreams of being a hairdresser and a mom. The children in St. Louis had shown Tawny that she could have a positive influence on the world around her. She was determined to find out how her summer experiences could influence her participation in the Fort Dodge community.
Shortly after returning to the Fort Dodge community, Tawny was recommended to help develop and lead a K–8 after-school ministry outreach that works among “at risk” children on the edges of the community. When she was hired to direct this ministry, Tawny was told she was ‘perfect’ for the position. Now, she hopes to go back to school to get a degree in Early Child Development and Elementary Education. Tawny found gifts she didn’t know she had and God’s calling on her life.
Now, as an alumnus of InterVarsity, Tawny still participates by helping to lead an InterVarsity Small Group at Iowa Central Community College.