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Co-founder of Humans of St. Louis, Lindy Drew, Shares Insight with Service Leadership Program

Grabbing the attention of users through social media, Humans of St. Louis, a non-profit organization, shares stories of people in the community. Through sharing snippets of people’s lives, Lindy Drew, co-founder of Humans of STL, inspires others to connect with those in their community, and shared her insights with Chaifetz School of Business' Service Leadership Program.

“It’s about highlighting commonalities while respectfully shining a spotlight on differences,” Drew noted in a workshop with students of the Service Leadership Program.

Students Hear from Humans of St. Louis Founder

Drew recounted her experience of taking a photography class, forcing herself to be vulnerable in front of the camera. Ever since experiencing this first-hand, she wanted to create an environment in which others felt comfortable voicing their stories and using that to share with the community.

“You have to meet people at the point they’re at to hear their stories,” said Drew.

Through social media platforms, Humans of St. Louis sparked a catalyst of conversation within the community. People were motivated to reach out to others such as by assisting a family in remodeling their home, promoting education in young children and empowering peoples’ feeling of worth overall.

“Amplify the voices of everyday people. Promote positivity, humanity, dignity and community. Collaborate with the organizations that surround you,” said Drew.

Inspired by Drew’s work, Colleen O’Connell Smyth, wife of Chaifetz School Service Leadership Program Manager Ben Smyth, created a Humans of McKendree at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. She accompanied Lindy Drew to present how her team shares students’ stories coping with mental health to spread awareness on campus in encouraging students to utilize the resources offered to them.

“Sitting down with someone just to hear about their day centered me to put outcomes first,” O'Connell Smyth said.

Students of the Service Leadership Program echo the mission by serving at more than twenty-five diverse service sites and attending 12 leadership workshops throughout the year. Learning about new ways to build relationships at their service sites gives students the unique opportunity to see first-hand not how challenges arise but how to overcome the barrier that separates people.

Rooted in SLU’s Jesuit values, students become leaders in embracing servant leadership and social change. Students carry these unique experiences with them as they continue to find relationships with people guarded by society.

The Chaifetz School of Business Service Leadership Program is a co-curricular program that provides business students the opportunity to develop their skills while becoming men and women for others through coursework, leadership workshops and 200 hours of community service. The Service Leadership Program hosts opportunities throughout the year to serve the St. Louis community.

Learn more about the Service Leadership Program