New Scholarship Awarded to Service-Minded High School Students

Beginning Fall 2015, Southern students who participated in the Assist program during high school will be awarded a renewable, four-year scholarship.

Students will receive $250 for each semester they took part in the program throughout high school, earning a maximum of $1,000 which can be renewed for four years.

Assist is a service-oriented student labor program managed by Southern that encourages students from Seventh-day Adventist high schools across the country to serve and form relationships with elderly adults. Students are employed through their academy's Assist-funded program and assigned to work in either the homes of older adults or in a nearby care facility. Once assigned, students perform a combination of chore and companionship activities that range from light housecleaning and yard work to playing games or simply visiting.

“Since I’ve had my stroke, I can’t do a lot of things, and it was always nice to know that Paul was here to help out,” said Jack Ferneyhough, an elderly member of the Collegedale community whose day-to-day life has been made easier by an Assist volunteer. “It’s just been wonderful to have somebody come and do the things I can’t do.”

Though Assist has existed since 2006, program manager Amanda Tortal, MSW, hopes this new scholarship will further ignite a desire for service outside of the university and attract service-minded students to Southern.

“We want students and their families to know that Southern values service enough to award them for the work they did in high school,” Tortal said. “It has been incredible to see the impact this program has on families, schools, and communities all around the North American Division.”

Assist and PFE Conference

More than 70 educators visited Southern April 16-17 during the annual spring conference for Assist and Partnering for Eternity’s (PFE).

PFE, like Assist, was designed to connect students with the elderly, but PFE caters to K-8 students and is more focused on companionship. The conference gathers current and new school leaders who participate in the grant program.

“The conference is structured to reflect our mission and values, but primarily, we concentrate on service and volunteerism,” said Kimberly Miller, Assist director.

Larry Blackmer, the vice president for education with the North American Division spoke at the conference and is a huge supporter of the program.

“Our speakers are primarily current participants in the program that we feel can give ideas and motivation to other schools so all programs can see improvement.”   

Both the Assist and PFE programs are available to any Adventist school across the country. For more information about getting your school involved, call (423) 236-2561 or email

Steven Collins Story by Steven Collins Published: Last Edited:

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