Photo of Courtney Motl

Courtney Motl '13: Serving the Community

By Theresa Schmidt ‘09

McKendreeans Courtney and Kaitlyne Motl are sisters in every traditional sense of the word: biologically, through their shared alma mater and through their membership in Alpha Phi Omega. However, perhaps their closest bond comes from being sisters in service to others.

Serving with her family on a breakfast ministry program in Granite City for several years, Courtney says her passion for service is something she learned from her mom and her sister, Kaitlyne Motl, a 2010 McKendree graduate. Courtney explains, “My role models for community service would have to be - number one - my mom, because she’s the one that put it in me from the beginning. Also, seeing my sister just grab onto that and just go for it; she’s a huge role model in every aspect of my life.”

It’s hard to imagine anything more beautiful than volunteerism, until you witness Courtney Motl’s attitude of serving with a smile. “I can’t go a week without doing community service or else I feel like something’s wrong,” Courtney smiles. As a co-coordinator for the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service’s Family Living Center program, a transitional housing facility, Courtney regularly experiences the ups and downs of service. She notes, “During our time there we play with the kids while the parents are in a workshop so we typically have a snack and a craft. I’ve fallen in love with these kids and I’ve seen families come and go, and that’s the hardest part. I can’t imagine taking a week off and spending it on me; I’d rather go and help somebody else.”

The sisters’ shared interest in service led to similar extracurricular activities as well, including membership in the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega (APO) and leadership with McKendree’s Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service, led by sociology professor Dr. Lyn Huxford, another of Courtney’s service role models. “Dr. Huxford is a big component as far as staff goes of getting me involved in community service; it’s something she’s instilled not only in my life but through McKendree’s community action team as well. The fact that she also goes out and does the service and not just tells us to go do it - that is amazing.”

Courtney’s admiration for McKendree’s faculty and staff extends academically as well, particularly in her major field of psychology. She especially appreciates how open the professors are and how they balance high expectations with detailed lessons and advice on how to achieve those goals. She explains, “The professors … give you the tools that you need in order to get what they want out of you. I feel like I’m very well-prepared for grad school. For my clinical and counseling course, we’ve started a 40-hour sexual assault advocacy training program to help with Call for Help; Dr. Simmons has been a really big proponent for that and that’s been an amazing experience. The professors are fantastic; I couldn’t imagine myself being anywhere else.”

In fact, Courtney’s gratitude for McKendree’s high quality education plays a large role in why she is involved with service: “At McKendree, you have been given one of the biggest gifts that anybody could have: education. By receiving that gift, you should feel that you should help somebody else that not necessarily would have that opportunity to go to college to get a fantastic, four-year private education. The people here at McKendree also believe that there’s nothing better than an education because you can do anything with it; that’s why we have the fifteen hour a year service requirement … to give back.”

If there was one last thing Courtney would give back to prospective students, it’s a bit of advice: “Go to McKendree! There’s so many opportunities that I’ve been given…I’m so glad I came to McKendree because I absolutely love it; I am so proud to be a Bearcat! You do have that connection with your professors, you do have that sense of family, you do have the community service that we like to cherish here and so it’s beyond a question - go to McKendree, without a doubt.”

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