That's how many hours we have in a week, and Dana Lauchner takes full advantage of each one. She spends 18 hours taking classes at the University of Texas, 10 hours studying, 9 hours working as a teaching assistant for chemistry lab, 4 hours working on marketing strategy for the International Justice Mission organization, 2 hours with her Stone Missional Community, 2 hours on Sundays helping with Austin Stone’s kids ministry, 1 hour volunteering with a special education organization, and 2 hours in her Delight bible study.
Just listening to her schedule was exhausting, but despite her busyness, Dana signed on for another semester at Side by Side Kids without hesitation.
“It’s something I look forward to doing every week. It’s a nice way to get out of the realm of being a college student, and to just remember what it’s like to be ten-years-old again,” said Dana.
Dana got her start with SBSK last Spring as a crew leader for fourth and fifth-grade girls at T.A. Brown. Throughout her time there, she saw how the lessons they learned in the program impacted each and every one of the girls. By the end of the year, the bond she saw between the students was stronger than ever. She saw they had a genuine love and care for one other that wasn’t there when she started.
It even helped grow her in her personal relationship with God, as it has reminded her that she has to rely on God for everything. Dana laughed and said that she didn’t have the energy, wisdom or guidance to do this by herself, and if she was trying to lead these girls on her own “it wouldn’t happen."
While Dana isn’t able to spend the same amount of time as a crew leader this year, she still wanted to come back to SBSK in whatever capacity she could.
“I wanted to pour more into an organization that I was committed to and that I knew I loved,” said Dana. “Side by Side Kids is so special to me because it is faith-based and I get to work with kids I love."
Dana spends her Monday afternoons volunteering at T.A. Brown, the school she taught at last year. Although her students moved on to middle school, she has been able to maintain and grow her relationships with the younger students at Brown. On Wednesdays, she also serves as a crew leader at J.J. Pickle.
After college, Dana hopes to be a teacher. She loves teaching at Side by Side Kids. Even more so, she loves the support and encouragement that she gets from the organization. Unlike other programs, Dana knows that whenever she experiences something unfamiliar with her class, she has incredible Site Coordinators she can always go to who will help her navigate through unknown territory.
Dana’s story encourages us every single day to live generously with our time. We are so blessed to have someone as dedicated as her serving side by side with us! Click here to learn more about volunteering with us.