Of all the ways students can earn money on campus, canvassing is an option that grants more than just monetary gain, according to LEAD Program Director Vlastimil Hybl. To Hybl, canvassing helps develop a stronger spiritual life and foster new relationships in a professional environment.
LEAD stands for Literature Evangelism Adventism Disciple and while there are other programs that have similar objectives, this program is specific to Southern. Located next to the Village Market, the LEAD office has employed 18 students this semester and Hybl is open to taking more. Before a canvassing trip, students arrive at the office where transportation is waiting to take them to different sections of Chattanooga. Once there, students start knocking door to door, attempting to sell Christian books to the people of that neighborhood.
“It’s very rewarding for students that want to do something really meaningful,” said Hybl. “This is a work of faith. Going outside of your room and from the minivan and going to the parking lot and going to the street, that’s action. [That’s] putting faith in action.”
Money is an important factor for any job and students in canvassing earn 50 percent of their profits. However, for sophomore education major Misael Polanco, he believed it provided more than that since it gave him the ability to open up with others and allow him to explore new relationships and strengthen current ones.
“Before I started canvassing I was the shyest kid,” Polanco said. “…but because of canvassing, I’ve had an experience of growth. My ability to speak with people and actually get a message across has improved so much because of canvassing.”
Though occasionally overlooked, canvassing goes beyond creating friendships and filling students’ wallets, according to sophomore business administration major Nikki Huesca. For her, the spiritual aspect of the job empowers students to step outside of their comfort zone and attempt things they never thought they could.
“It is wonderful to see how God can still use a sinner like me to reach more and more people for Christ,” Huesca said. “It’s been a blessing in my life but I also discover[ed] that I [have] been able to bless others and touch other people’s lives because of this youth publishing ministry. It was awesome to see God working every day.”
Students who are interested in registering can go online to the LEAD website and can apply there. Training occurs every Friday at 1p.m. where students are taken to the field and shadow the more experienced students.