Johnson Service Corps wouldn’t exist without a compassionate, generous community of people who support the program in a variety of ways. One of those incredible individuals is Laurie Alexander, a former member of the Board of Directors for the Johnson Service Corps. Read the blog to learn why Laurie continues to support our program.
My name is Laurie Alexander. I was on the Board of the Johnson Intern Program, which became the Johnson Service Corps, from 2013 to 2019. As a member of the Chapel of the Cross, the founding church, I was aware of the program when it was only a dream. The Board Chair, Dr. Watty Bowes, recruited me. After he made his pitch, he said, “You haven’t asked if there will be any compensation?” I laughed. No, there would be no compensation other than many new friends of an age I didn’t have in my life, a chance to work with dedicated service-oriented Board members, a growing knowledge of non-profits in the area, and so much more.
My job on the Board was Fellowship, but I would call it Celebrations. Some of those celebrations involved all board members, such as welcoming and feeding the new young people as they arrived in town and taking their stuffed lovies up to their new rooms. Other celebrations involved mentors or placement folks or members of congregations where the corps members worshipped. Each year ended with a banquet and presentations by each young person. I worked with our Board to ensure we had enough food and beverages, but I was rewarded many times over by the creativity and love of the presentations.
What was in it for me? Above all, my benefit was getting to know the young people. Joining the Friday Servant Leadership Class two different years was a chance to spend powerful time together. I learned about various spiritual practices, authors, and personality inventories. Another benefit was learning about the varied placements over those six years. I was not knowledgeable about the Durham placements. Praxis Projects done each year provided a chance for the group to find a community need and propose a project to address it. The Board would okay, fund, and evaluate the project after it was completed. This practice was fun for the Board and often very impressive in the choice of a problem to tackle as well as a chosen solution
What do I carry forward? I have books on my shelf by theologians that I learned about and spiritual practices I have incorporated into my life. I smile with pride when the new class is welcomed at the Chapel of the Cross, read the online newsletters, and greet Corps members warmly when I see a name tag or a face I recognize. I spread the word among family members and friends about the value of this program. My goal is some year to go to DC with the group. It just might happen.