Topeka, Kansas - Lidia Elizabeth Hurst, 21, of Topeka, KS passed away on July 9,…
Written by Brad Crown, CCCK Graphic Designer
McPherson, Kansas – In March of 1971, the Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK) Board of Trustees approved the creation of an Academè to be known as the Central Academè of Achievers, the highest award given by the College. For this honor, one recipient at maximum will be chosen each year to join the Academè. Those elected to this honorary membership are designated a “Fellow” of the Academè and will be recognized at the CCCK commencement ceremony.
CCCK annually honors individuals who have achieved prominence in their profession while demonstrating in life a commitment to the mission of Central. They are people who, through service, have engaged and impacted their communities in a significant and positive way.
This year’s inductee is Mrs. Susan Griffith Agel (CC ’74). Mrs. Agel is the chair of the Free Methodist Church (USA) Board of Administration and the President and Chief Executive Officer of Positive Tomorrows. An alumna of Central, she has served the college as a Board of Trustees member from 2001-2013 and is a Stoll Society member.
Her organization, Positive Tomorrows, is a unique nonprofit that works with families experiencing homelessness and their children in ways that no one else does. The primary program is that of a private school, regionally accredited with a cutting-edge arts-integrated curriculum. At any point in time, they have children living in the local homeless shelters, children whose parents are in a rehab program of some kind, children whose families bounce around from family members, to motels, or to anyone who will keep them off the street for even one night.
The goal of Positive Tomorrows is to help meet the basic needs of homeless families, giving them food, clothing, personal care items, and basic medical care to meet their immediate needs. They want to help each child focus on their lessons instead of worrying about food, safety, or being accepted by their peers. The hope is that, by meeting basic needs, their parents are able to set and achieve goals in order to reach greater self-reliance. The organization works on increasing income, connecting families with vital resources, and sustaining a home of their own to lift them out of the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
Their most important tool is providing education designed specifically for each child. They cap each classroom at 20 students, with a certified teacher and a teacher’s aide. They support education with carefully chosen after-school activities, enrichment opportunities, and hands-on learning to reinforce what the students get in the classroom. The organization helps those children who are in the worst-of-the-worst situations, children who sleep every night on a different floor, little ones who often go without food and appropriate clothing, and children whose parents are so worn out seeking food and shelter, there is no energy left to pay attention to the kids.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of those who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
In response to receiving this honor, Mrs. Agel remarked,
I am extremely grateful and honored by this recognition. Central Christian was a place where I made many lifelong friendships and learned many lifelong lessons. I’m grateful for the faculty, staff, board members, and donors who made this school a haven for me so many years ago and who are making it all happen today. Thank you.
President Favara stated,
Susan Agel is a living testimony of the core principles and mission that define the Central Christian ethos and experience. Her induction into the Academè is a recognition of the example she provides of a life that honors God and inspires others. She is a woman living with her whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We are honored to recognize her.
ABOUT CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF KANSAS
Central Christian College of Kansas is a regionally accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate-level programs. Central strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person – heart, mind, soul, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about Central go to centralchristian.edu/about. Visit the Foundation of Central Christian College to see what projects and events are coming up.