Joliet, Ill. –  As a reflection of its Franciscan values and as Joliet’s university, the University of St. Francis (USF) works closely with area organizations to serve those in need. One recent example of this saw USF’s Servant Leaders program donating new winter clothing to the Boys & Girls Club of Joliet in support of the organization’s upcoming Curbside Christmas Party and Gift Grab on December 19, 2020.

“Striving to serve others and uphold our Franciscan values, the Servant Leaders donated 100 pairs of hats and gloves for the Boys & Girls Club of Joliet. As a part of the Joliet community, we want to have a positive impact on the city, especially during such a challenging time.  We hope that our donations bring joy and comfort to the children who receive them,” said Nicole Kulon, a junior majoring in business management and minoring in marketing.

Kahlil Diab, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Joliet, was extremely appreciative of the USF group’s supportive efforts.

“This amazing group of young women and men was generous with their time to collect and deliver this critical donation. We sincerely thank everyone who took part in this effort, and also send a special thank you to Dr. David Gordon, Boys & Girls Club of Joliet ‘Club Ambassador’ (and USF professor), for facilitating this partnership and donation,” he said.

USF’s Servant Leaders program started in fall 2019 and was one component of a successful grant proposal submitted to the Bob and Pat Wheeler Foundation. In addition to the creation of the Servant Leaders program, the successful proposal has resulted in the ongoing transition of USF’s College of Business and Health Administration into a Franciscan College focused on three core areas: faith, service, and academics. The college’s curriculum is being refocused onto Franciscan business ethics at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

“Our Servant Leaders program is comprised of students who focus on three things: Jesus Christ and the work of St. Francis; promoting Franciscan values within the college and university; and service to others. These leaders are overseen by ‘Faculty Shepherds,’ who guide the students to keep focused on those three objectives,” explained Orlando Griego, Ph.D., dean of USF’s College of Business and Health Administration.

Griego added that since its inception, the Servant Leaders program and its participants have donated over $2,000 to help with the feeding of the homeless and have volunteered many hours of service at local shelters. The group also posts positive, Christ-centered messages around campus, working hand-in-hand with University Ministry, and will provide the chapel with two new sets of altar clothes for daily Mass. The group also participates in annual spiritual retreats.

About the Boys & Girls Club of Joliet

The Boys & Girls Club of Joliet is a proud United Way of Will County funded community partner and is dedicated to helping all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Visit to learn more about supporting the organization and its mission.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 51,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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