By AUSTIN KOELLER
At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, the message is simple: help people.
Two University of Nebraska at Kearney students have been given opportunities to give back in a huge way.
Blake Brouillette, a UNK junior from Hastings, has been chosen to be on the College National Executive Board for St. Jude. The position is unique as only six people in the nation were chosen for the board, and it is the first College National Executive Board that St. Jude has had.
St. Jude Research Hospital is a national pediatric hospital focused on the treatment of children.
“There’s free treatment for every patient no matter what. No one pays a dime,” said Brouillette. “They’ll bring your whole family there and pay for the entire family.”
When he found out he got the position on the National College Executive Board, Brouillette had to decide whether or not to take the position. He thought he might have to give up some of his other involvements to serve on the board.
“… One thing I heard a long time ago that kept going through my mind was: when you drop your selfish [desires], you’d be amazed at the things you can accomplish,” Brouillette said. “Going to bed exhausted every night, you know that you’ve done everything you can to help those around you in your life.
“I would definitely say my involvement is giving back to others with the gifts and blessings I’ve been given in my life, not being selfish. This is a time where you can impact so many people, even with the little things in life.”
Brouillette said that as part of his involvement on the inaugural executive board, he is in charge of setting the precedent for all executive boards to come. He said that he will be in charge of figuring out “what we’re going to do each year, what they’re going to do each year, their responsibilities, and how many people are on the board [next year].”
Taylor said the idea of interning with St. Jude started after having dinner with the local regional director for St. Jude at the beginning of the year. This, she said, led her to apply for the internship and made her realize that she could help people.
Taylor said that as part of her internship, her responsibilities will include making phone calls for sponsorship and visiting schools involved in the St. Jude Up ’Til Dawn program. She hopes to use the internship as an opportunity to pursue her dream of becoming a regional director for Up ’Til Dawn.
“All of the money that St. Jude has is by sponsors and people sending in money. I’ll be making a lot of calls like that,” Taylor said. “There’s also a lot of schools setting up the Up ’Til Dawn Program. So, I’ll get to go to their meetings and give our input on what we did this year, what was successful, what we liked, and what we can work on so they can have a successful Up ’Til Dawn program as well.”
Up ’til Dawn is a nationwide student-led philanthropic program in which college students raise funds for and awareness of St. Jude. Students participate in a year of fundraising that culminates with the Up ’til Dawn all-night challenge.
Taylor said the one thing she hopes to gain from the internship is to “get down to the heart of St. Jude.”
“I just want to figure out that heart,” Taylor said. “If you can spread that love and compassion to everybody, everyone wants to give. Everyone wants to be a part of something like that. If we can get everyone onto that fan wagon, I really think that we can come back and show – not only what others do – but how St. Jude, as a corporation, continues to bring in money every year.”