Tell me about growing up. I grew up in El Dorado Kansas, a rural town of 14,000 people. My parents are hardworking people. Dad is a Federal Law Enforcement Officer and Mom is a Teacher. Our family has a great military history, which I’m really proud of and grateful for. It meant that me and my siblings were brought up with a strong work ethic and service orientated values. I loved theatre and all things related to the arts and performance growing up. I’ve chosen to major in business administration at Wichita State so my theatrical interests have taken a backseat, but I’m still passionate about storytelling and writing. 

How did you get connected to RS? I met Fr. Justin at our Fraternity Leadership School at UMKC on October 1st, 2016. He was one of our speakers for the weekend. As he shared about the work of RS there was an immediate connection with our Fraternity because of common values. We’re a Greek Chapter and a social services based fraternity—Sigma Apha Epsilon. Our creed, “The True Gentleman,” is our mission. It was written by our founder John Walter Wayland in 1856. We strive to live our lives based in values that are expressed in service to others.

I was particularly struck when Fr. Justin shared about the desire of the people they serve at RS “to be the change they’re trying to find”. We were inspired by the stories of people progressing along the RS continuum of care and finding work through RS Social Ventures. As a Fraternity we were excited about donating to the RS advocacy project to sponsor ID’s and document assistance.  Nothing happens unless you have an ID right? It’s the first step in becoming stable and gaining access to housing, work and multiple other opportunities. For us students this project was an affordable way for us to get involved. We want to make a difference in the lives of others beyond our University and the State of Wichita. 

As a Fraternity we support the National Children’s Miracle Program. This year, 2016, the students of Wichita State University raised $105,000 in our annual Shockerthon dance marathon. We’re really proud of this achievement. When we started 5 years ago we raised $12,000! The community support that we’ve received has been amazing and donations have increased each consecutive year. 

During the first week of November2016 we will be holding our annual Wichita State Mac and Cheese Fundraiser, which is always well supported. This year we’re counting it a privilege to donate a third of our proceeds to the RS 'I'd Be' project.

What are your dreams for the future? For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a Navy Seal. It’s a deep desire in my heart and it’s never gone away. When I graduate I hope to go directly into the military and pursue that dream. Long term, I want to go into politics and eventually run for State Representative. I’m passionate about a life that is dedicated to the service of others and the common good. I’m privileged to be studying in a multi cultured school with people from all over the world who are committed to living and working from unifying values. 

Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director of RS with Breck at the Fraternity Leadership School at UMKC, October 2016

Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director of RS with Breck at the Fraternity Leadership School at UMKC, October 2016

I’m excited about our Fraternity’s new relationship with RS and their community of clients, volunteers and donors. It’s inspiring to be working alongside people who are committed to unifying values and a life of service to others. We’re glad to be able to contribute and be a part of this community.

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Story: Lyn Morse-Brown
Main Photo courtesy of Breck Towner
Inset Photo: Tom Morse-Brown