By Jeanine Kaileh
It’s that time of the year again — Student Leadership Board (SLB) applications are OPEN!
My name is Jeanine Kaileh and I have served as the Southwest Regional Student Leader (RSL) on the SLB for 2 years, and I’ll be serving as SLB Chairwoman for the upcoming academic year!
In April 2019, I was volun-told by two friends of mine to apply for the Southwest RSL position. I did not know much about what I was getting myself into, but I did know that it was for the Church, and that in itself is what drew me to apply. During that summer, I met with a few SLB members to discuss our upcoming year, gaining a better sense of what being on the SLB entailed. It was not until the Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) in August 2019, that I fully understood what my responsibilities and expectations were. After two years (and moving onwards with a third year), I can confidently say that applying without fully knowing what was going to happen was one of the greatest, most unexpected blessings of my life.
If you apply for the SLB, here’s what you’ll be getting into:
Whatever your position may be, it’ll be the work of the Lord. That work, along with the work of our project committees, more often than not, is done in companionship with fellow SLBers who will likely become your closest friends while you’re on the board, and lifelong friends thereafter. Along with that, the work that comes into fruition impacts fellow students of the OCF community and allows not only them, but yourself, to spiritually grow in such a transformative time of our lives. Like anything in life, there are moments of frustration, confusion, and even disappointment, but the joy, beauty, grace, and Christ-centeredness of it all is what drives the SLB to continue on with the work of the Church and the faith.
Being on the SLB is the gift that keeps on giving. As written in 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Why did you join the SLB?
“I joined because I wanted to do more for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship and for the college students in this ministry. The people who encouraged me to apply and those who I knew who were on the board currently had the greatest most loving hearts, souls, and minds. I had a feeling that it would probably change my life to work with them and get to know them. I was not wrong.” – Alethia Placencia
I joined the SLB because I wanted to contribute to an organization that I have grown to love over my college career. Hearing the stories from previous SLBers inspired me to apply to the board so that I could work to make OCF the best it could be. – Thomas Retzios
I joined the SLB because I wanted to find a way to build a connection with my faith and the people around me on a deeper level. I also wanted to learn professional skills that could help shape me as an individual – Jenna Riadi
What do you like about being on the SLB?
“The SLB is an answer to praying in bringing me a community who supports me in my work and who I can be my authentic self around. I know I could call up anyone on the board, and they would be there for me to listen or help in any way. I love everyone I have met so much, and I know these people care about me deeply! I love how supportive we are of each other. Every person puts their whole heart into their work and wants to create a beautiful experience for their fellow students.” – Anna Spencer
“I love all the community and love and all the new friends I have made. Everyone is so amazing and willing to help with whatever I need. The SLB has provided me with great people who push me in my faith and as a leader and help me do my best work for OCF.” – Alexandra Gluntz
How do you feel it has changed your college experience?
“I have made my closest friends through this program. It less “changed” my college experience and more *defined* it.” – George Powell
“Being on the SLB has given me a deeper understanding of my faith.” – Teli Stathopoulos
“SLB has made me a better student, friend, Orthodox Christian, and individual! Wait, you want me to elaborate? SAY LESS. Serving on the student leadership board has strengthened my time management and communication skills! I find it much easier to stay on top of my responsibilities as a student and EMT as I’ve learned to maximize my time to ensure everything gets done immediately!” – Remy Salloum
“Serving on the SLB has changed my college experience by connecting me with other Orthodox Christians around the country, and through our work on the SLB, we have all developed close relationships.” – Thomas Retzios
Do you have any advice to anyone applying?
“Even if you’re not sure you’re qualified, apply! This is a space for learning and growth, it’s a safe space! Don’t be afraid to apply and ask questions :)” – Jenna Riadi
“Bring your ideas to the table. OCF is dedicated to growing and improving while having fun :)” – Analisa Callendar
“I had no idea what this year would look like due to the pandemic, but I am so glad I took the leap and applied for my position. Joining the SLB helped me experience love and support in more ways than I knew existed. My experience with OCF has been amazing so far, and I hope others can benefit from this organization as much as I have. APPLY!!!” – Peggy Polydoros
“Make OCF a priority and you won’t regret it.” – Sofia Kroll
“Be ready to have a good time.” – Tino Kayafas
Southwest Regional Student Leader
I am a 3rd year biopsychology major at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I enjoy cooking, baking, reading, journaling, and tatreezing (traditional Palestinian embroidery). I’m serving currently on the Student Leadership Board as the Southwest Regional Student Leader for my second year and next year I will serve as the Chairman of SLB! I love OCF with all of my heart! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!